With the deadline till the royalty rates for Internet broadcasters nears, I’ve been covering the different options that are available say a deal does not get done. Some bad news was announced earlier today as the courts denied the ‘motion to stay’ the CRB decision. The good news is that the activity on Capitol Hill, a round table settlement between broadcasters and SoundExchange. With two days left till the rates increase, there is still a question about what alternatives do DJ’s, and broadcasters have to continue to stream music. More importantly, in the economy that is Second Life, what options do new DJ’s have to continue to broadcast music, let alone their favorite songs? While there are many options for playing interesting and independent music, there aren’t many for playing most popular, “FM” music.
The first and the most obvious would be to pay the increased fees, to build a business model around it. While the model can be supported in Second Life, the market for DJâ€™s would not sustain the higher prices that a DJ would have to charge. The second choice is to go private, to make a stream a private stream and not pay the fees. While this option is VERY illegal (and when the RIAA finds you they will sue you to the next millennium), it is also disrespectful to the musicians whose music you do play. I do believe that musicians should get compensated for use of their works but not at the risk of putting me out of business. The third option is to approach one of the big four recording labels and strike a deal with them, the the same way that Sony and last.fm struck a deal, but this also hurts the musician as well.
The real last option is to hope that royalty licensing services such as Live365, Loudcity and SWCast remain open and are able to work our deals or keep prices affordable for web casters to utilize their services. These services are geared towards small broadcasters and charge a low fee, file the paperwork and pay all of the necessary licenses for broadcasting. Iâ€™ve been using Loudcity for some time (http://community.loudcity.com/people/nexeus) and it has really made my ability to broadcast shows in Second Life and online, easy, legal, and affordable. Services like Loudcity and SWCast work well with Second Life, as Live365 does not seem to be as SL friendly.
While the situation does look bleak, I would recommend that if things do not work out, the true alternative for radio webcasters is to rely less on â€œFMâ€ music and begin to seek more alternative, independent sources for the type of music they wish to playâ€¦ you really may be surprised by them.