In my opinion, KCRW is the best radio station in the U.S., terrestrial or online. Only the BBC online competes for my online radio listening hours. Recently, the Copyright Royalty Board affirmed royalty payments for webcasters, retroactive to 2006. Some webcasters, notably Pandora, have flatly stated that they will go out of business unless the royalty rate is reduced or revoked. KCRW is encouraging its audience to protest the fact that the royalty does not differentiate between for-profit and non-profit webcasters.
I'm prepared to be outraged, but first let's do a little analysis. At $0.0008 per play, and an average of 4 mins per song, this would amount to 15 songs or $0.012 per hour. If I left KCRW on during the 10 hours I work each day, it comes out to $0.12 per day. Since I don't listen all the time and am not in the office all the time, assume 10 workdays a month, it's $1.20 per month, or $14.40 per year.
Sign me up! I already contribute more than $100 per year to you, far more than it will cost to stream music to me! Obviously, not all listeners contribute. So why don't you offer your contributors something extra - like a higher-quality stream or priority queuing at peak demand times? I believe that the excellence of your programming, coupled with webcasting, has significantly increased your contributor base. So it's time to pay for that, whether the rate is $0.0008 or $0.0002 per user-play.
I will continue to support KCRW and could probably be convinced to fork over a little more, I think so highly of your service. It's actually especially beautiful combined with the full-length audio streams offered by my own company, Haystack.com.
But it's time to think about some other approach to driving contributions since I believe the royalty is not going away. And, by the way, I think you believe that, too, since you're not giving me or any other supporter any concrete steps to take to help your cause.
Your loyal fan,