Friday, January 4, 2019

For 2019, Greed Wins

We have been broadcasting in the United States since 2011.  Over the years, it has been getting harder and harder.

In 2016, the special royalty rates that had been established for microbroadcasters, like myself, expired. As a result, rates in the United States became exorbitant. We were forced to move our stream to Canada in 2016. In Canada, we pay royalties at a microbroadcaster rate to SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada). However, now SoundExchange, the royalty/copyright enforcement agency in the United States, is no longer honoring reciprocal deals with professional rights organizations (PROs) in other countries.

Today, Soundexchange requires that all people who stream music, whether it is a commercial station or not, needs to pay the same amount as Amazon, Apple, Spotify, Pandora and Google, regardless of the country from where they stream and regardless of the purpose of the music. We don't broadcast Vinyl Voyage radio to make a profit. In fact, it costs me a lot of money a year to keep this going. If I were to pay what SoundExchange is demanding that all broadcasters pay,  that would mean it would cost over a $1000 minimum every year simply to stream music from my basement to listeners in the United States.

We cannot do that.

Don't get me wrong: I want to pay royalties to artists and musicians. However, I cannot afford to do that at the rates that corporate music providers pay. They are raking in the money through advertising and subscription fees.  I am still unsure just how much actually goes to the artists themselves.

Therefore, we will continue streaming, but our stream will be geoblocked for listeners in the United States starting on January 12, 2019.

Sorry about this.

Until the United States restores microbroadcaster rates (as every other country still has), we will not be available to those listeners.

What this means is that for music lovers in the United States, over the next year, your choices in online music will get smaller and smaller.

Just what Amazon, Apple, Google, Pandora and Spotify want.

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.

When you click the box below, the following message will be sent to you representatives:

There used to be more variety of music on the internet. For example, I really enjoy listening to music on Vinyl Voyage Radio. However, since the United States no longer has a category of royalty rates for small microbroadcasters and hobbyists, it is cost-prohibitive to run a small non-profit station in the United States. And now, many more are being forced to close their streams in the United States due to the fact that SoundExchange is no longer accepting streams from other countries who are not paying U.S. royalty rates. These rates are the same across the board. That means that small hobbyists broadcasting out of their basements are paying the same rates as Spotify, Amazon, Google, Pandora, and Apple. Since they are non-profit, they cannot afford to do this. The largest music provider in the world is Radionomy. And they started geo-blocking streams to the United States. Now, service providers in Canada are doing the same thing. Soon, the only options that people will have are those corporate voices. Music will showcase less variety; consumers will have less choice. That is not what the internet is about. Please, restore the royalty rates that expired in 2016. Tell SoundExchange to stop bullying other countries into paying more. Thank you.

No comments: