STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Today many fans of Internet radio, including those listening to some public radio stations on the Internet, will be tuning in...
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: NPR's Felix Contreras reports.
FELIX CONTRERAS: In between the silence, many outlets will be playing announcements explaining the protest and asking listeners to write their senators or representatives. That's what Live365 will be doing. It's an Internet radio site that aggregates 10,000 independently programmed channels. Johnie Floater is Live365's general manager of media. He says listeners have supported the fight against the rate hikes. He also says Live365 is willing to forgo its ad revenues because royalty rates do not take into consideration the value Web radio offers the music industry.
JOHNIE FLOATER: We have to look at what Internet radio does for the music industry. And besides coming up with royalties, it comes up with an immense amount of promotion for a wide amount of artists that are not heard anywhere else. You're going to silence probably one of the most powerful tools for music, and that's what you're going to hear - silence.
CONTRERAS: At a recent conference on digital media, Jonathan Potter, executive director of the Digital Music Association, said silence is what listeners can expect if the new rates go into effect.
JONATHAN POTTER: Silence may become the pervasive sound on the Internet if the royalty rates go into effect on July 15th. I think the goal is going to be to persuade people to do something to help the Webcasters stay on the air.
CONTRERAS: Those supporting the royalty increases say the money goes to musicians that are creating the content for the Webcasters. John Simpson is the executive director of Sound Exchange, the organization created by the recording industry to collect royalties from the Internet radio outlets.
JOHN SIMPSON: The absence of music will happen when performers aren't adequately compensated fairly for creating. So I think in their own backhanded way they're proving our point, which is performers need to be compensated so we will have wonderful works being created.
CONTRERAS: Felix Contreras, NPR News.
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