The Day the Music Died
Your speakers are working; it's Yahoo! Radio that isn't. In protest of exorbitant new royalty fees set to go into effect Real Soon Now(TM), thousands of Internet radio broadcasters are protesting today with a day of silence. Their beef? That the 4-5% royalty rate is set to spike to anywhere from 50-300% within weeks. Satellite and other radio broadcasters still get the cheap rate.
SoundExchange, the organization charged with collecting the disbursing the fees to artists, claims that artists aren't being compensated enough for their work. I'm inclined to believe that, but not for the reasons they give. In the first quarter of 2006, they failed to distribute $5.7M worth of collected royalties, almost 40% of their take. Their excuse is that they can't find the people they are supposed to pay and will conveniently get to pocket the money on Saturday if the artists don't claim the moolah.
The only hope for online radio is if Congress takes some swift action to stall or reverse the changes, due to go into effect on July 15. This kind of price-gouging from a monopolistic spin-off of the RIAA is not acceptable.