the take

Why Is Your Cubicle So Quiet Today?

As many frustrated office drones have noticed, a broad swath of the Web has gone quiet, with scores of Internet radio stations observing an organized Day of Silence in protest of the upcoming July 15 change in Internet-music royalty rates. The shift, which amounts to as much as a 300 percent increase, stands in stark contrast to commercial AM/FM radio, which doesn’t pay any royalties at all.

Public-radio stalwart KCRW is leading the charge, replacing all programming on their three Internet streams with repeated plays of an extremely worthy if super-boring one-hour program called “D-Day for Webcasters.” Many other stations, including WNYC, Yahoo! Radio, MTV Online, Pandora, Rhapsody, and Live365, have simply shut down their streams for the day.

We don’t recommend listening to that KCRW program over and over, but we do recommend that instead of just cursing your favorite Internet radio station for failing to deliver the dose of Rihanna you need to make it through the drudgery of another day, you visit Save Net Radio and send a note to your congressperson. Otherwise, come July 15 — when every station must pay the new royalty rates, retroactive to 2006 — you might have to do without Rihanna for good.

’Day of Silence’ Event to Draw Attention to Royalty Crisis [RAIN]
D-Day for Webcasters [KCRW]
Save Net Radio [Official site]

Why Is Your Cubicle So Quiet Today?