Fairly soon I'll be moving to a place where the standard FM Radio fare will not offer anything I want to listen to. Sadly, my plan for music in my car took a big blow yesterday as the Copyright Royalty Board denied the last ditch motion to stop the coming royalty rate increase for internet radio stations. The BBC has a good article on it.
If these rates stand... I believe we'll see a virtual shutdown all of US webcasting," wrote Kurt Hanson, CEO of AccuRadio, on the SaveInternetRadio.org blog. "That will be bad for listeners, webcasters, musicians, and the record industry alike."
(Note - rather than try SaveInternetRadio.org, which appears to be dead and camped by nobodies right now, try savenetradio.org instead). The new fees include a $500 base fee and then a per-song/per-user fee. They pretty much represent the death-knell not only for independent internet radio stations (like my favorite somafm.com) and also deal a heavy-blow to non-profit Public Radio internet feeds.
One of the great things about Windows Mobile is that it has built-in support for most internet radio stations - just click on a feed link in Pocket IE and up comes the media player, streaming away. It's an under-utilized and under-reported feature that will likely be pointless this time next month. Hopefully this petition and letters to Congress people will help, but I'm not hopeful.