UK internet radio: strangled at birth?

Internet radio could be killed off in Britain before it's even properly begun

UK internet radio could soon be in big trouble thanks to punitive royalty charges and other innovation-killing fees.

The situation mirrors internet radio's experience in the States where online radio stations were threatened with huge charges levied by music publishers. That is until the US music-lovers fought back with their Save Net Radio campaign.

However in many ways the UK situation is much, much worse. Royalty, performance and other charges are much higher here than in the US and internet radio doesn't have a groundswell of support from the public as it's simply not as well established here, according to our sister title PC Plus.

Pandora's plight

That's a shame because the flat-rate per song fees imposed on UK internet radio stations by the music publishers, composers and songwriters' organisation, the MCPS-PRS, could account for 35 per cent to 45 per cent of an online station's gross revenue. And that's in addition to charges levied by Phonographic Performance Ltd, which gets money every time a song is played.

Tim Westergren, founder of US internet station Pandora says:

"We're so eager to launch in the UK, because we know it has audiences that love Pandora and it's just killing us that we can't."

PC Plus petition

Westergren hopes that UK music listeners - like those in the US - will make a fuss about the charges and lobby politicians. To help make the point PC Plus has set up an E-Petition on the 10 Downing Street website that calls for the fees to be lowered. Please help out if you can by adding your signature to the petition.