RealTime IT News

MediAmazing Turns off Free Radio Streams

A recent ruling from the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) that mandates Webcasters to pay sound recording performance royalties has forced Internet-only Webcaster MediAmazing to turn off its free streams and implement a subscription-based model.

The CARP recommendation, which is likely to be accepted by the Library of Congress Copyright Office, calls for Webcasters and commercial broadcasters to pay royalty fees on broadcasts. It will undoubtedly force a dramatic shift for streaming media companies offering free Webcasts.

The Nazareth, Pa.-based MediAmazing, a top-rated Webcaster which depended on advertising to subsidize its free service, quietly reacted to the ruling by shutting off the free service and asking subscribers to pony up $3.95 a month ($35.55 per year) to listen to a commercial-free version.

MediAmazing officials could not be reached at press time but Kurt Hanson, publisher of the Radio And Internet Newsletter that tracks the Webcasting industry, said that by switching to a paid subscription model, MediAmazing would be subjected to the royalty rate, which is yet to be determined.

"However, that will not eliminate MediAmazing's obligation for retroactive royalties which would be, $16,000 for January 2002 alone and overall could be a quarter million dollars or more -- probably more than 100 percent of the company's total gross revenues to date," Hanson said on his Web site.

According to Measurecast and Arbitron ratings, MediAmazing was among the most listened to audio streams on the Internet but a combination of the depressed online advertising market and the latest copyright ruling has caused some worry among company executives.

The news of MediAmazing's paid subscription shift comes as a new a new audience measurement survey has painted a rosy picture of the streaming media sector, suggesting that a lucrative market is ripe for the picking.

The joint study by Arbitron Inc. and Edison Media Research said approximately nine million consumers would be willing to pay a small fee to listen their favorite audio channel.