Open Letter to Artists, Labels and Songwriters

It has always been Live365’s mission to support artists and pay our fair share of royalties. Since its inception in 1999, Live365 has always paid both composer royalties (to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC) and performance royalties (to SoundExchange). Over the last few years, we've paid millions to SoundExchange alone on behalf of our broadcasters and listeners.

It’s all about supporting artists who write and perform the songs we enjoy. This is a core mission behind Live365. Some of this support comes from promotion, airtime, so artists’ works can be heard. Some comes from cash in the form of ROYALTIES. Last year, Live365 paid SoundExchange, the collector of sound recording royalties, more than $1 million (for the performing musicians and singers) on behalf of our broadcasters and have continually paid royalties since day one of our service.

To take the administrative burden of tracking Live365 stations off SoundExchange and our broadcasters' back, we also created and provided for our stations an entire data management system that tracks which songs were heard, by how many persons, providing SoundExchange with a single, compiled report insuring thousands of Internet stations are law abiding webcasters that do report and pay royalties. And that’s just one type of royalties. Live365 and its broadcasters do the same reporting and paying for the song writers and composers through contracts with their royalty organizations, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.

What we do not understand is why Internet radio is saddled with the highest rates. Satellite services, such as Sirius or XM, and cable TV music providers, such as Music Choice, pay nearly 50% less for the same royalties. AM & FM stations pay NO sound recording royalties at all. If all parties were putting in their share, if there was parity for all broadcasters, there would be no need to double, nearly triple the royalty rates for Internet radio as the government established Copyright Royalty Board has done.

Many small, non-profit and public service stations with little or no revenue will be stopped from broadcasting on the Internet under these new rates which will eliminate many of the music you can’t find on AM, FM, satellite, or cable radio. If these rates stay in place, we’d expect 80% of Live365 stations, specifically those in niche genres with unique content unavailable elsewhere, will have no choice but to shut down. Our 260 genres would probably be reduced to 10 and become homogenized as AM/FM radio. As an example, this year’s “pay for performance per listener” rate of $0.0011 may seem tiny, but one Internet radio station that broadcasts 15 songs an hour to even 500 listeners would pay SoundExchange $72,270 a year for sound recording royalties alone, not to mention their other costs for composition royalties, hosting, bandwidth, music library and their programming. Compare that to the current under $1,000 average price of broadcasting on Live365.

Internet radio, such as Live365, is the only source most people have for jazz, classical, folk and many other types of music in niche genres. Many of these genres are key elements of American culture, and Internet radio is one of our best resources for preserving them. Internet radio reaches the entire world and helps spread the exchange of cultures and goodwill to people everywhere.


Thank You,

Atomm Nihilo

Live365 Broadcaster 

GR1 – Heavy Metal

GR2 – Punk Rock 

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