“So long, and thanks for all the fish.” – Douglas Adams
Unless something changes radically between now and then, DKFM will spin down on its last day, December 31, 2015.
What happened? Thousands of small pureplay and microcaster web stations will find it impossible to continue, given the new rate structure from the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) agreement. Previously, stations like ours were able to operate under the SWA, or Small Webcaster Agreement. Not to get too far into the weeds, but it was a provision that allowed small-to-medium webcasters to promote lesser-served communities. Jazz fans, folk fans, even shoegaze and dream pop fans had a home to hear familiar tracks, as well as discover new and breaking independent artists completely ignored by Pandora and Spotify. This provision was eliminated in the 2016-2020 agreement.
What can we do to fix it? Options are limited, and involve significant trade-offs.
- • Kickstart a minimum of $1200 a month for ongoing station operations. Not likely.
- • Move ourselves and our broadcast to Southern Ireland, or perhaps Belgium. Also unlikely.
- • Go pirate. Besides looking over our shoulders all the time, piracy just isn’t in our DNA.
- • “Geo-fence” out all listeners from the U.S.A. Complex and cumbersome, plus that shuts out 50% of our audience.
- • Secure signed waivers from all the artists we play that are willing to forgo royalties in exchange for promotion. Besides the regular rotation roster of over 1000 artists, we’d have to secure same for all the newest artists we shuffle in every weekend. Plus recordkeeping, and transmission of this data to streaming carrier? Also unlikely.
- • Appeal to Congress, who established a carve-out for pureplay webcasters back in 2007, under the current agreement. Have you seen this Congress? Plus, we really can’t afford our own Congressman or Senator, as Pandora does.
- • Become a 501(c)3 non-profit. Compelling, considering we never established this to make money, only to hopefully break even. But even the government would likely raise an eyebrow out our claim to be “educational”.
• Move non-live operations over to Radionomy, and attempt to re-establish our standard livecasting within 30 days. Possible. Drawback: breaking twice an hour for two minutes of commercial/PSA/filler. And we’ve always been staunchly noncommercial.
- • Pray God for an intelligent alternative to any of the above. Frankly, a combination of #7 and #8, most reasonable proposition.
We will surely have a multi-hour send-off on our flagship Live365 station. It’s our home and our first love, the platform that got us onto iTunes Radio and TuneIn, and drew an international audience of thousands to our narrowcast little genre. That the Live365 network has been essentially legislated out of existence isn’t their fault. The current CRB agreement (with its lack of Small Webcaster Agreement) has essentially destroyed their business model, and the wound is likely fatal to their business going forward.
Press inquiries: contact GM Greg Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org.