Southern Cross Austereo, Australia’s largest commercial radio group, has reportedly started turning on the webcasts of its radio stations. At least 18 stations are now simulcasting.
It has been two years since, in a startling boycott of Internet-delivered radio, Australian radio stations shut off their streams. It was not an idealistic boycott, but a business maneuver based on music licensing rates that many stations found unacceptable or unaffordable. That was January of 2014, when Joan Warner, Head of Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), said “We’ve stopped streaming because of the greed of the multi-national record companies.”
The licensing issue is solved, at least for now, by so-called Interim Simulcasting Licenses set by the Copyright Tribunal of Australia. A final settlement will reportedly come later this year, ending the interim period.
According to a report in RadioInfo, the current interim rate is the same rate that caused the boycott in the first place, two years ago. there is no universal agreement to renew streaming; the gradual switch-on is spotty and not organized — unlike the new year’s turn-off in 2014 which definitely was organized. But the movement in SCA to start streaming 18 stations is significant.