For those of us who have become ahem frustrated with the trend towards consolidation and conservative playlists at regular, over-the-air "terrestrial" radio, the internet has been a life-saver. Whether it's random amateur stations, AOL's XM-assisted collection of channels, or ghosts of once-terrestrial frequencies like WOXY, internet radio has offered a whole world of musical choices. But all that could be in jeopardy. Music blog Idolator has pointed out that new royalty rates just decided on by the Copyright Royalty Board would put most internet broadcasters out of business.
Full disclosure: I'm an employee of LIVE 105 (CBS Radio), and we, like all stations, pay fees to the record labels for broadcasting their music. The fee structure is such that (most) stations can continue to be profitable businesses. But as Business Week points out, the new rates for internet stations could add up to over 100% of revenue. That doesn't sound very profitable. The kind of unfortunatetly-titled website Save Our Streams has been set up in anticipation of the coming internet radio silence (perhaps they could also double as a prostate-health awareness site?) and has links to a variety of news stories on the issue.
So, what's a new music junkie to do? Allow me to suggest the apparently unregulated world of podcasts! It seems nuts, but there's a whole section on iTunes full of free and great -- new music, and if you're like me, the promise of listening to a new DJ mix on the iPod is the only thing getting you to the gym in the morning. Check these out:
See if those don't give you an extra jolt of energy on the treadmill...