Some bad news…. After 16 years with Live365, as much as I enjoyed my experience with them, it looks like we will be parting ways.

A few weeks ago, I received the following letter from them:

Dear Live365 Broadcaster,

For 17 years, Live365 has offered small webcasters the opportunity to stream music and talk programming, providing an alternative distribution channel for diverse, quality content on the Internet in a legally responsible way.

Recently, the Copyright Royalty Board, the governing entity for establishing the sound recording royalty rates that are paid to copyright holders, has published the new rates for 2016-20. The previous provisions for small webcasters to opt for a percentage of revenue model were not renewed. The current provisions end at the end of 2015.

The absence of this license will make legally streaming copyrighted musical content prohibitively expensive for many small to mid-sized Internet broadcasters. Live365 relies on this license for many of their broadcast partners and, as such, has hard decisions to make regarding their future in the streaming industry.
Two weeks ago, Live365 faced an additional blow, losing the support of its investors who have helped the company with its mission for over a decade. The company was forced to significantly reduce staff and is now actively looking for partners to help continue the service into 2016.At this time, Live365 is planning to keep their stations active while getting the word out about this investment opportunity. With nearly two decades of Internet streaming experience and thousands of paying customers, this could be an ideal situation for a company looking to diversify into streaming audio.
CEO N. Mark Lam has begun initial discussions with possible business partners as the company looks to new options in the new year.Dean Kattari, Director of Broadcasting for Live365:”The true value of Live365 lies in it’s diversity of content – it’s a sanctuary where you can hear music and other content that it so unlike the template broadcasting that is heard on most terrestrial radio. These stations are the hard work of real human beings who use Live365 to share their vision with the world. It’s a home for musical discovery because many of these stations play emerging artists that terrestrial stations are reluctant to take a chance on. It would be a great loss for this to all go away.”
We thank you for being part of the Live365 family and hope for the best in 2016.
Rock on,

The Last of the Live365ers

Keep in mind that this unfortunate turn of events is due to the new royalty rates established by the Copyright Royalty Board. I am disappointed at this outcome and saddened to see Live365 put in this position. They supported countless micro-broadcasters like me, introducing the world to a wide variety of musical tastes. Their contribution to this effort will be remembered forever. For me, they were a good part of my life—16 years!

I still have the email from the one of the very first station listeners. I still remember how I listened to my own station in the computer lab at college. Damn….

Unfortunately, I do not think I can do much about it but move on.

The good news… Even though I have essentially been inactive as a broadcaster in the past several years, I am still very much a listener and big fan of my own station. I love what it is, I love film music, and I would very much like to keep it going.

The hard cut-off is January 31st—that is when Live365 may stop the Permanent Waves broadcast, according to the following:

How does this affect my station?

We will allow broadcasting for your station until January 31th. You can use that time to research other streaming provider options. You still have access to your station account.

Because I am a hobbyist broadcaster and not a professional one, I will be looking for other streaming provider options. I am currently eyeing Radionomy, which approached me about a year ago, but my life was a whirlwind then and I did not foresee the current events.

I like what they are offering so far. If the research turns fruitful, I will be upping the quality of the stream from 96 Kbps to 128 Kbps in the transition process. This is the highest that Radionomy supports right now. Of course, I am always ready for even higher bit rates, thanks to my decision to store the original tracks in FLAC format.

Anyway, to keep a long post short, I am not going anywhere.