There’s an urge to want to joke about what disasters could befall us when the recording industry and the federal government get together, but it’s really too easy and it’s not all that funny anymore.
As you may know, the federal Copyright Royalty Board recently made a ruling that would radically increase the fees charged to play music over the web. You can read about it here, here, here and here. A potential side effect is the eradication of all but the deepest-pocketed purveyors of the form. The independent pioneers, those playing the most interesting music, often by artists who lack any meaningful mainstream exposure, would immediately go on the endangered list (if not entirely out of business), while the World Wide Web, a bastion of endless possibility, takes on the bleak blandness of the FM dial.
Some members of Congress – a whole lot of them actually – aim to fix the mess with the proposed Internet Radio Equality Act. But it’s far from a done deal, and so on Tuesday, June 26, internet broadcasters from across the spectrum are uniting for a Day of Silence to drive home what the future could sound like. When web radio flatlines, feel free to tune to FM and hear the same four-minute atrocities from Nickelback and Fergie on stations in every town from Philadelphia to Arkadelphia.
You can weigh in by signing this petition and contacting your representatives in Congress. And if you don’t know who they are, go here and here, and drop them a line.