Friday, January 8, 2016

So Long, Vinyl Voyagers. It's Been Fun.

It appears that this radio station will no longer be operating after January 31, 2016.

I started Vinyl Voyage Radio almost exactly five years ago after re-discovering a bunch of my old records in the basement. My K-Tel collection stood out. Oh, how I loved my K-Tel albums back in the 70s. The impetus for Vinyl Voyage came because I wanted to share those albums. And share them I did. Nearly every month for the last five years I have recorded episodes of Adventures in Vinyl to play those K-Tel records again. And I spent countless hours digitizing my other albums as well. As a result, the playlist for this radio station has grown to thousands of songs easily spanning 60 or more years. We have been playing vinyl music 24 hours a day for the last 5 years, with a much more diverse and deep playlist than any commercial station on terrestrial radio.

There are Vinyl Voyage listeners all over the world. From Finland to Israel, from Papua New Guinea to Slovakia, from Brazil to Taiwan and many more places in between.  I have corresponded with vinyl music lovers all over the globe, sharing a passion for music, for records, and for nostalgia.

This station has been a small joy of mine.  On those nights where sleep was elusive, I came down into the basement to play some music for the few listeners I had experiencing the same bout of insomnia. Through albums I have picked up at garage sales, Goodwill and family and friends I have reconnected with some great, eclectic music that I have not heard in years.  I have been lucky to have done this and wish I could continue.

But, as of January 1, 2016, the laws regarding royalties have changed.  Since 1995, small broadcasters like myself were given an option to pay royalties based on percentage of revenue. Live365, founded in 1999, fulfilled the necessary paperwork and royalty submissions that thousands of people like myself have used to play music without violating copyright laws and keeping the cost reasonable. Live365 has been one of the only services to do so and was licensed by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SoundExchange, and SOCAN. These are the main agencies that distribute royalties to artists.

Those laws have now changed and the special status given to small broadcasters have been removed. Now, in order for me (and literally thousands and thousands of stations like mine) to continue, I will need to pay a yearly fee of $500 and a per song royalty. In essence, something that used to be very affordable, can now cost thousands or tens of thousands a year.

The big streamers like Spotify and Pandora are onboard with these changes, of course. The cost factor for them will not have changed all that much. They make millions in revenue as it is and weren't subjected to the small broadcaster rules.  Live365, which is built on provisions in law that benefit stations like mine, cannot survive when that option is nor longer available.

And all of those stations out there that are curated by actual human beings and that specialize in certain music will not longer be able to provide those streams to their listeners. The world of internet music is no longer going to be as diverse or as interesting.

And that is a shame.

When the Copyright Royalty Board announced the changes, Live365 had no choice but to lay off most of its staff. Investors pulled their money and we have been left without a platform. They have stated that the streams will most likely be shut off on January 31 at the latest unless a new deal is made. And a deal is not likely to happen.

I hate to see Vinyl Voyage Radio go. And it will not go away completely. We'll keep going until that stream is shut off. And when that happens, I will continue, at least for the time being, to keep my video stream going at as I look for other ways to legally provide vinyl music to our listeners.

Most importantly, I'll still make new episodes of Adventures in Vinyl.  All of those episodes are hosted at MixCloud and can be streamed at any time.

But unfortunately there can be no more Manic Mondays. No More Funky, Feel-Good Fridays. No more weekend Vinyl Brunch.  No more Classic Rock Blocks.

Thank you for listening. This has been a pure joy of mine and I hope you enjoyed the nostalgia and the music.

I sure have.

For more information about this situation, here are some more explanations:


  1. This is very, very sad to hear. I've been tuning in for some years now. Thank you for vastly expanding my music tastes, interests, and collections. It's Been Fun.

  2. Hi Bruce David Janu
    My Name is Jermaine and I'm a big fan of K-Tel but I want you back on the air for Adventure in Vinyl!