Internet radio under fire

I enjoy Internet Radio a lot. As you probably noticed in the sidebar of this blog I use Last.fm since quite a while and it’s terrific. I occasionaly listen to Musicovery as well. I checked out Pandora but it didn’t do it for me. More on the different services soon.

But the category is under fire. Read an article over at Doc Searls that the US RIAA just adopted a “pay per play” royalty scheme for Internet Radio which will probably kill US players like Pandora if nothing changes. As Sheila Lennon calculates, the $0.0008 fee per song would mean the following:

“Because a typical Internet radio station plays about 16 songs an hour, that’s a royalty obligation in 2006 of about 1.28 cents per listener-hour. … total revenues per listener-hour would only be in the 1.0 to 1.2 cents per listener-hour range.”

And regular FM stations, in the US at least, pay nothing. This is crazy. It is quite obvious what the RIAA is trying to accomplish.

But the ironic thing is that Last.fm could emerge as a big winner in this area because they are UK based and have a UK license to broadcast internationally from the UK. And since when does it matter for an Internet user listening to radio from his PC where the streams originate from?

So someone please tell me what the use of RIAA’s measures are?

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