Many, many people have covered this story, but in case you haven’t seen it here, here or here, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has made a significant change in its rate scheme which, if upheld, will result in substantial royalty increases – enough to kill off most Internet music services.
From GigaOM, here’s what Tim Westergren of Pandora had to say:
“Left unchanged, it’s over for us and every other internet radio service, period. Makes it un-viable,” Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren wrote in an email. “We’re staying online because we’re hopeful that sanity will eventually win out. This is a ludicrous ruling.”
Not only is this ruling bad for Internet radio companies (and ultimately for music producers), it’s not great news for some hardware manufacturers either. My much-loved Squeezebox loses much of its appeal if I can’t get a wide range of Internet radio stations on it: Pandora, Radioio, Live365… Yes, Slim Devices recently added Rhapsody to its SqueezeNetwork line-up, but part of the reason I love my Squeezebox is because it doesn’t require onerous monthly fees. I pay $36 for a year of Pandora now that my 90-day free trial is up. I’m not willing to skip up to $9.99 a month for a service that’s less attractive.