Is webcasting affordable?

Jan 09, 2016 5:00 pm
Last week, jazz pianist Paul Bley and classical composer Pierre Boulez both died, and, if you live in New York City, one could have tuned into WKCR-FM (89.9-FM) for long-duration tributes full of their music, plus knowledgeable stories from disc jockeys, historic interviews, and other special sounds. Outside of New York, though, WKCR was silent too, as its webstream also went dead. Columbia University runs the station, and they told The New York Times that, "the problem was not the cost of royalties but contractual terms with the station’s 'provider' and that negotiations were underway." Radio stations pay SoundExchange, a nonprofit agency that administers licensing for record companies, for rights to play songs. But record companies do not want radio stations to play an entire album of any artists work, in case someone somewhere is recording that album and not purchasing it. The New York Times article is not clear about whether WKCR stopped streaming because of issues with SoundExchange, or issues with Columbia University. The story does make clear that a related issue, the recent commercial radio licensing rates announced by the Copyright Royalty Board, are not the source of the problem with WKCR's internet stream. That decision affected Pandora, Live365, and iHeartMedia, with Live365 laying off nearly their entire staff.
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