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“Seventeen sweet years ago” — Live365 pulls the plug

Live365 logo erased 02

As forewarned, small webcaster station platform Live365 came to an end tonight. When we checked at 10:30pm EST, we found this sad and sentimental notice:

live365 end 638w

We reached out to Director of Broadcasting Dean Kattari tonight for comment, but the email was returned as undeliverable.

The first sign of trouble for the venerable Live365 was on December 30, when RAIN News reported that most of the staff had been laid off, the company office had been vacated, and a remaining staffer told us that Live365 had lost its investors.

The investor withdrawal remains unexplained, but the abrupt collapse of a pioneer in online radio is connected to the five-year cycle of music licensing royalties set by the U.S. government’s Copyright Royalty Board. New rates were due in December, and were published on the 16th. Streaming royalty rates for the use of records went up about 20%, but the tectonic shock to the webcaster industry came two weeks later when the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009, a law which had protected low-revenue stations with a special way of calculating below-market rates, expired. There was no word from SoundExchange (which collects royalties on behalf of record labels) or its client labels, about a renewal or new rate negotiations.

Many independent stations turned off their streams in January, and Live365 is the largest and most meaningful casualty. With this sizable platform out of business, thousands of stations need to find new solutions or go silent. February 1 is the deadline for paying a minimum $500 into the royalty system as a non-refundable deposit on future royalty payments, the first of which is due March 15 for January streaming.

Some of the most recognized and successful independent Internet radio stations are resolutely carrying on, implementing cost-saving solutions wherever they can. We have heard optimism, both from webcasters and attorneys, that SoundExchange and the labels will engage in discussions on behalf of the small webcaster category at some point. The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has not yet published its full rate determination in the Federal Register (the earlier rate disclosure was a brief summary, without any judicial reasoning or legal briefs), and RAIN News has been told by multiple sources that no special deal will be undertaken until the full determination is public — which could be weeks or months away. Even then, there is no guarantee, or even preliminary signal, that the plight of small webcasters will be on the institutional agenda.

The webcast landscape has been thinned of its vigor, entrepreneurism, and musical diversity. There is probably more culling to come before we know whether low-revenue webcasting might again provide aspiring DJs a feasible outlet in the music ecosystem.

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Brad Hill

50 Comments

  1. I’ve signed every petition there is out there but I’m just not optimistic. I think part of this is a result of interactive streaming services (such as Spotify), where listeners have more control over what songs and artists they want to hear, being popular.

    • I agree as well. Even on the small webcast streams that I like, there are times when I wish I had a skip button, to skip over songs I hate.

      • your statement stinks! if you tune in to a DJ’s playlist and Only want to hear the songs you know. It’s better to put your head in a Box and forget the rest.

        • I listen to music for the music. Not the DJ.
          Of course the best solution is to just buy what I want to hear. So that is what I’ll do now that I lost my 365 subscription.

        • Bluesman, I think you missed the point. I don’t just listen to songs I ‘know’. Every now and then on a given stream, regardless the source, I hear something that just turns me off. I like to be able to skip that one. P.S. My head is not in a box.

    • Live-365 was never any good, Basically an overall Poorly Built Platform.
      The Live 365 platform never really got off of the ground.
      With stream platforms like ShoutCast-Icecast-Radionomy, etc..
      Live 365 couldn’t compete with that.
      Final Thoughts– Live 365 Sucked !

  2. Well, don’t everyone comment on here at once! This time small webcasters are really done for. Why? Nobody has the balls or money to do anything about it. The only thing that saved it before was NPR and now that they have their own set of rules. There pull and money isn’t there.

  3. Spotify DOES NOT pay the artists any where near enough !
    We have a lot of music on the internet.
    cdBaby, iTunes, amazon all pay well.
    Typical Spotify payment to Dynamic Recording:
    63 streams – $.06 cents. This is a major rip off.
    And Sound Exchange is worse !
    Dave Kaspersin
    President
    Dynamic Recording Studio

    • Those places you mentioned are places that sell music. iTunes specializes in selling digital music. Amazon and CD Baby specialize in selling physical albums.

      • CD Baby doesn’t have any streaming, so his payment there is coming from customers buying albums and/or downloads.

        Amazon and iTunes both have streaming in addition to music stores, so his payment there is coming from the streaming and customers buying music.

        • People not buying music is part of the problem. Seems to me it would be best for streaming services to have a store attached to at least encourage listeners to buy music.

          • They did! As a Live365 casualty there was always a Buy Now link for every song I played except for independent artists who had no other outlet. Well screw the CRB because I moved my station offshore. It will take a while to build up my demographics again but I’ll get there. And this is just a hobby for me.

          • Quite frankly, a lot of music these days is atrocious and not worth buying.

  4. The winners in all this is corporate media, who have conquered Internet radio and can now dictate what music THEY want you to hear. The losers, independent music artists and small broadcasters. Good luck trying to get your content heard, now! Broadcasters, like myself, will now go overseas to broadcast music. American Internet radio has been given a setback and will now be second fiddle to Europe and Asia in innovation. The US is not the leader anymore.

    • People have no idea what this means, but they will soon find out. Live365 won’t be the only one to fall, and as Live365 and other streaming providers disappear, independent artists will not get air play and niche genres will suffer. Corporations will market what they want and listeners will hear what they are given. You are basically looking at the internet version of today’s terrestrial radio. Lack of choice, diversity, genre and artists. Enjoy!!

    • I wouldn’t say indie artists are screwed. I have a podcast every week featuring only indie artists & all I have to do is get them to sign a release form to play their music following an interview. This just means that the broadcaster needs to be more crafty.

      • The audience most Podcasts garner are microscopic compared to what has just been lost. There is no way a Podcast is going to give independent artists the kind of airplay or audience reach that internet radio provides on a continuous daily basis.

    • I’ve already made the move. Check out Listen2MyRadio. I’m now registered with SHOUTcast and TuneIn. And TuneIn has a mobile app. There’s also the Listen2MyRadio app but ironically my station is not showing on it yet. I was informed by customer support it will be in 2 weeks. Just go to SHOUTcast.com or TuneIn.com and search on eargasmUSA and you’ll find me. And I plan on making independent artists a major part of my programming, just as I did on Live365.

    • Yes music is dreadful these days. I cant stand it that is why 365 was so important to me.

  5. I feel much, much worse for the listeners of stations that didn’t play “taxable” music… E-Ticket Radio and Time Capsule, for my own example. The whole thing stinks on ice.

  6. Maybe we should get Donald Trump involved, I mean Make America Great Again. This is a clear example of us practically given the store away. I hope he gets in and kicks everyone in the arse.

    • LOL! You need someone progressive to fight this. Bernie Sanders is the one you would need.

      • I second that, Idol Girl! My parents warned me to never, ever vote Republican because they only care about the rich.

        • Your parents were derelict in their duty to educate you.
          There isn’t a nickel’s worth of difference between the two parties.
          Putting your trust in a pollutician is foolish.
          Now go renew your EBT card.

        • Take a look. It has always been Democrats who have helped the wealthy. Obama is a good example. The Iran deal will and is making billions for those who control the military industrial complex. Obama care has assured that rich insurance companies can’t go broke because of the government subsidies and the veto of the Xl pipe line assured that Buffets trains will continue to carry this dirty crude. Trains are much worse for pollutiion then the pipeline would have been. The Republicans were against everyone of these help the rich Obama polices. If this isn’t enough proof just look at how the 1 per centers have made out like bandits under Obama and how the middle class has suffered. I’m so sick and tired of hearing that Republicans only favor the wealth when through out the last 40 years, it has been the Democrats who have sponsored that favor the top 1 per centers. And Hillary is right in the middle of all of this has been and always will be.

      • Ha! Bernie will give you anything you want for free!
        Cuz he’s the Candy Man!
        You just love it when the government sticks its nose where it ought not be.

  7. I started up a station over a decade ago only playing independent artists who cared for free promotion. Partly to promote my music as well. I ran it for about 3 years and decided to focus on other things but I think maintain that if you did research and found artists who care more about promotion you could successfully run your station. The revenue would likely have to come from donations or something but it’s a viable route.

    Also, anyone remember MusicMatch? They used to give you a discount on purchasing the tracks if you were a monthly subscriber to their download service. The only reason I can think companies aren’t doing that is it could canabalize their monthly revenue. I kind of disagree there but who knows.

  8. I presume there will be no prorated refunds given. It would have been nice if Live365 had notified it’s subscribers…….warned us of the possibility. Sad all the way around.

    • Chris, Live 365 did over the years, but most of us never thought that this would happen…

  9. There was nothing sent about my VIP membership. No notice of closing. I renewed membeship for the year in October. Live365 owes me some money. Since I received no response from Live365 we now go to the credit card used to pay for service. I would have been far less annoyed if I didn’t find out the service would disappear from a friend just the day before.

  10. So, I tried all the alternatives listed on the Live365 “going out of business page”.

    None of them look even half as flexible as Live365.

    Sad!

  11. All I want to know is what the fuckers addresses are that are responsible (or rather irresponsible!!!) for this FUBAR deal!!!! I just want to fuck with them for a little while and demonstrate some of the interrogation skills I learned in Vietnam…then cut their spinal cords so they are wheelchair only and have to have a bag hooked up to them 24/7 to show my appreciation for them taking my fucking money knowing this shit was getting ready to hit the fucking fan! I don’t get pissed off often, but when I do it doesn’t matter where you think you are safe…you’re not! Good luck to you in your feeble attempt to run from your responsibilities to your subscribers you stinking cock sucker!

    • I’m not sure you’re safe to be on the streets, bud. That kind of comment triggers some serious concerns. You want to permanently MAIM someone over a few bucks? Really? Perhaps those you wish to ‘target’ were hoping against hope that some miracle would happen and they could pull a rabbit out of the that. I too spent hardearned money with them but I feel only regret, sadness and empathy for a failed effort. FYI, I’m of ‘your generation’ so my advice is to chill.

  12. Tell you what AccuRadio…you honor my annual subscription for this year and if you play the same quality music I go on Live365 I will guarantee a loyal listener (and more important…a loyal subscriber!!!…it’s all money this day and age isn’t it…) for years to come…unless you pull the same shit Live365 pulled on it’s listeners!

  13. I sure hate that they are gone, spent lots of sleepless nights and early mornings with live365….like webshots…Kay Sarah…Sarah!…lol…close enough…

  14. I truly miss 365. Accuradio is a pretty good substitute however so my sanity is preserved.

  15. I’ve been a VIP member of live365 for years. I kinda wondered why my dues hadn’t been deducted from my bank. I guess now I know. They had such a wide
    variety of genres to choose from, more that any site I know. They say that all good things come to an end. Wonder why bad things don’t go away. RIP live 365

  16. Greetings ….. It is a huge loss ………. I started listening to Live365 shortly after their debut. After a month, I started feeling guilty about my “free” status. I wanted to listen to some of the Premium stations but I also knew that what they were doing was the way to do things …….. unlimited stations with differing play lists among different stations in the same genre ………… so I became a paid listener. Many months, I didn’t listen (lots going on) but I never resented the money spent …… it was going to a good cause. Hell, I could listen to Christmas music any day of the year. I mostly listened to blues and surf music (some good guitar players that are ignored because they play surf music) and one of the advantages of Live365 was just the large number of “broadcasters” ……. many stations in the same genre. I received no notice that they were in serious trouble and would have been willing to make a contribution to help thru a tough time. I had been with them so long, I had a personal affinity for them though I knew no one who worked there. Not having economic clout means not being able to set the agenda. Its frustrating. They were of like the security blanket …….. the old friend you could visit when you out of ideas. A sliding scale on royalties would make some sense. I don’t like the idea of people like Apple, Amazon, etc being the only players. Too much temptation for them the less competition there is.
    If the founders still have a burning desire to do this thing, they may be able to find a way to make it work.

  17. What Happened….This Is Impossible, Such A Good Radio Internet,Gave A Lot Of People Access To Starting A Radio Station…….This Is A Crime…….Johnny ( Montreal)

  18. Very sad Live365 is gone! I thought the website would be back as it states “under construction” but alas it seems to be gone forever. I am now back to Pandora.com for music and VoiceAmerica.com for talk radio. Maybe 365 will return….I am waiting, waiting. If they come back with pay to listen I will be happy to do so.

  19. I was a broadcaster on Live365 for about 5 years. My specialty was Dixieland Jazz by Australian Bands. I stopped broadcasting when we lost our house to fire in September ’15! I I had plans to resume my show when we resettled somewhere. Now all those plans are gone thanks to corporate greed!

  20. I would like to get back on the air with Live365 if it is affordable. I am currently with Radionomy

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