Why I Can't Listen in the U.S.

Note: We have set up a streaming page for listeners in the United States. Click here to access it. Below is the reasons why small internet radio broadcasters are having a difficult time in the United States.

Starting on January 12, 2019, Vinyl Voyage Radio will no longer be available to listeners in the United States (for the most part).

Why is that? Well, it all comes down to U.S. copyright law, which is enforced by SoundExchange, the only company authorized by the U.S. Congress to collect royalties for the playing of songs. Don't get me wrong, we want to pay the artists for playing their songs. Before expiring in 2016, there were special rates in the United States for hobbyist stations, like Vinyl Voyage Radio.

With the expiring of that law, stations like Vinyl Voyage faced exorbitant fees that they could not sustain. Why did the law expire? Well, the big streaming players such as Apple, Google, Spotify, Amazon, and Pandora wanted small broadcasters to pay the same rates as them.  What are those rates?  Currently, it is a minimum of $500 a year AND an additional $.0018 per song, per listener beyond that original $500 fee. The more listeners you have, the more you pay. So, that means that Vinyl Voyage would be forced to pay the same as Spotify, although we are non-commercial.

For example, on December 16 we played 460 songs. So, if 100 people listened that entire time, I would owe SoundExchange $82.80 for just that day. If I had 1000 listeners, I would owe $828 for that day. Now, I have never once had that many listeners. The point is, this is the same price that Spotify, Amazon, Apple, Pandora and Google all pay as well. And they are not hobbyist broadcasters streaming out of their basements.

We pay royalties through SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) and stream out of Canada. SOCAN has reciprocal deals with other PROs (Professional Rights Organizations) throughout the world.

SoundExchange recently sent a letter to Torontocast (our streaming host in Canada) and told them that they need to pay SoundExchange as well, or they can't stream to the United States. Of course, that would be cost-prohibitive to any business that is built on clients who are hobbyists and micro-broadcasters.

So Torontocast has no option but to block US listeners.

This happened to radio stations on Radionomy earlier and it will happen to others across the world as well if SoundExchange has its way.

And what will happen? Less variety. Less choice.

So for now, Vinyl Voyage Radio will not be available in the United States starting January 12. It is just too cost prohibitive to pay for a stream there in addition to what we pay yearly to SOCAN. It will still be available to every other country in the world, though.

Sorry. If you are a listener in the United States, thank you for listening.

If you live in the United States and want things to change, write your Congress members and tell them that SoundExchange needs to restore microbroadcaster rates in order to allow small, microbroadcasters like Vinyl Voyage Radio to operate in the United States. You can use the form below to do that.