This week, I interviewed Pandora founder and pianist Tim Westergren, to get his take on the recent webcasting rate hikes. The result is published in Truthdig.com, to which I recently started contributing media/tech news analysis.
Sinnreich: What do you think the impact of these new rates will be on the Internet radio industry as a whole?
Westergren: If these new rates really stick, it’ll stop. No legitimate webcaster can afford to stream. There may be a few large terrestrial stations that keep their streams going online as a loss leader, but the whole business and ecosystem around Net radio is really going to be wiped out. On the other hand, there are 70 million Americans currently listening to radio over the Internet. If you suddenly turn it off, the demand doesn’t go away. More Web radio will start sprouting up from countries where royalties aren’t strictly enforced, and people will start tuning in to them.
If you're at all concerned about the future of internet radio, I highly recommend you check out SaveNetRadio.org, which contains further information, as well as a petition.