The SaveNetRadio coalition will be holding a National Day of Silence June 26 to draw attention to an impending royalty rate increase that could lead to the shutdown of most of the US Internet radio industry.
Most large online music and radio providers are participating including Yahoo, Real (Rhapsody), Accuradio, Live365, MTV and Pandora. Conspicuous in its absence is the now CBS owned Last.fm.
To date there appears to be no comment at all from Last.fm, including no response to questions by users on the Last.fm forums.
On the surface it seems strange that CBS/ Last.fm wouldn’t be participating. Last.fm is obliged to pay royalties in the same way that any online music streaming service is obliged to. CBS is an investor in TargetPoint, a company that allows advertisers to customize online radio ads, pinpointing specific demographics and locations that would be affected by any industry down-turn. Is it perhaps a case of CBS deciding to let the competition die? CBS radio stations stream online and unlike many others in the business CBS has deep pockets and a much larger advertiser pool from which to cover costs under the new royalty scheme.
No matter what the reasoning, Last.fm’s failure to participate in the National Day of Silence runs the risk of causing a backlash. Many early adopters who are also Last.fm users will not be pleased to see a company they champion being a poor corporate citizen by failing to support the online music streaming industry.