The DMCA, or Digital Millennium Copyright Act, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998. It is an American law that protects copyrights over the Internet. The radio industry has to pay a musician or band royalties when they play their music on their stations. This caused a big stir in the industry because traditional and online radio programs were being charged differently as to what royalties they had to pay.
One of the reasons the DMCA was signed into law was due to the fact that the Internet had largely influenced the music industry, and in some ways hindered it. Record sales for bands and musicians decreased by large amounts because people were downloading music off the Internet for free. A lot of down loaders were illegally file sharing, so there was not a need to go out and buy CDs anymore. Music sites online and radio programs could stream music for free.
Because of the growing popularity in the late 1990s, there was a lot of media attention and investing going on in the music industry online. Music companies and radio programs were making a lot of money online and musicians were making less. Stocks for certain online radio sites were doubling in value. Bands and musicians were really suffering during this time because most of their revenue was through record sales, especially if they were not touring.
One of the controversies of the DMCA was the unfairness of who had to pay what royalties. One way it affected Internet Radio was that they had to pay a royalty that traditional radio stations did not have too. Internet radio programs have to pay performance royalties and publishing royalties. The rates of the loyalties are very expensive and affected smaller, independently owned online radio sites. Big corporations could make the payment easily, but other companies were in danger of going out of business.
Because of the hard to pay royalties, music websites that streamed music for their listeners banded together to oppose the high fee. They had a silent protest and did not stream any music for an entire day. Due to the persistence of Internet radio stations, the law was revised. The law now states that royalties are now based on the revenue of the Internet station and there would not be a flat fee for royalties.
Even after the DMCA was passed, radio stations online have continued to thrive and grow their business. Radio programs on the Internet cater to a lot of different groups of people. You can listen to music from around the globe and find genre specific stations.
About the Author: Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.