Royalties rate increases kills Live365

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    The broadcasting platform Live365 will have used up it’s 9th and final life on Jan 31st when the plug gets pulled. The new royalty rate increase effectively put them and many U.S. based internet broadcasters out of business.

    At this point I need to mention that terrestrial broadcasters pay ZERO royalties. ZIP. NADA.

    What previously cost $15 a month to stream will now cost over $100.

    The only other Live365 broadcaster here besides myself was Chickenjuggler, but he has since moved on to a different broadcasting venue, but made an appearance on the Live365 board to say goodbye to everyone this week.



    Hmm . . . it appears this belongs on the radio side, you know, where all things radio are dying.


    Correct me if I am wrong–don’t over-the-air broadcasters still have to pay royalties to the composers of the music that they play, through BMI? I remember having to fill out BMI logs 15-20 years ago.


    Hmm . . . I looked up what is required: ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SoundExchange, & SOCAN (Canada). I think SoundExchange is the big bad boy here. If I find the link to the discussion that details the lopsided playing field with terrestrials, I’ll post it.

    This was sent to me in December by Live365. There was hope they could find a way to survive:

    “Recently, the Copyright Royalty Board, the governing entity for establishing the sound recording royalty rates that are paid to copyright holders, has published the new rates for 2016-20. The previous provisions for small webcasters to opt for a percentage of revenue model were not renewed.

    The current provisions end at the end of 2015. The absence of this license will make legally streaming copyrighted musical content prohibitively expensive for many small to mid-sized Internet broadcasters. Live365 relies on this license for many of their broadcast partners and, as such, has hard decisions to make regarding their future in the streaming industry”

    Then a few days ago, this:

    “Dear Live365 Broadcasters,

    You should have already received our notification and link to the press release regarding two issues that have affected Live365 in the last few weeks.

    1. The CRB ruling handed down in December, 2015 did NOT renew or address the expiration of the small webcaster percentage of revenue plans. At this time there is no small webcaster options except for full CRB rates.

    2. Live365’s long time investors have stopped funding us. As a result, we are no longer able to sustain our service.

    We are sad that we are closing our doors at the end of this month. There are always possibilities that we can come back in one form or another, but at this point in time, January 31, 2016 is the last day that Live365’s streaming servers and website will be maintained and supported.

    This is a surprise to us as it is to all of you. We are proud that Live365 was a pioneer in the streaming music business and have provided a platform to hundreds of thousands of broadcasters to have a voice over the years.

    Unfortunately, we have to say good bye. “


    Alfredo, here is something clarifies what I failed to do:


    “The royalty rate for all radio stations is $0.0017 cents per song. For internet radio stations, that rate is then multiplied by how many listeners are hearing the station at the time. This means the cost for internet radio stations becomes 17 cents per song if 100 people were listening, while AM/FM stations pay just $0.0017 cents. For internet stations, the costs quickly add up.

    If an Internet radio station had an average of 100 listeners at one time throughout the day and played 10 songs per hour, the cost per hour would be $1.70 per hour. That’s $40.80 per day and over $1200 per month.

    . . .

    For example, an FM station with 50,000 listeners in a small city would pay $85 per song ($0.0017 cents multiple by 50,000) or $510 per hour (based on 6 songs per hour) and over $12,000 per day. That’s over $350,000 per month! If the FM station had 250,000 listeners, each song would cost $425; each hour would cost $2,550; each day would cost $61,200; and each month would cost over 1.8 million dollars! That’s over $22 million in royalties each year.

    It doesn’t matter how many ad sales are made by a terrestrial radio station, no business would be able to survive under those rates. So, why did the record industry think online radio stations could? Maybe they didn’t. Maybe this is simply their way of getting rid of internet radio stations once and for all. If you are an independent musician, wouldn’t you like to know the answer?”


    I also have a Live365 station at least until the end of the month. Inspired by Chickenjuggler.

    But my purposes are different.

    I’m not really interested in accumulating an audience, I pretty much play to an audience of one. Me.

    I travel quite a bit, and having a pretty large library it’s easier to stream it than to take it with me.

    Right now, my understanding is that if I stream to a Shoutcast server and mark it as “Private” I do not need to worry about royalties.

    But it’s really hard to find a definitive answer to that.


    Amus, checkout They let you upload “playlists” — I’ve seen some with over 300 tracks. There are some restrictions, but you can get around them with multiple “playlists”. Free is a very good price. 🙂 So far they pay the royalities. Many broke live365 folks have gone there.

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