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Internet radio lives to play another day

Lisa Napoli Jul 16, 2007
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Internet radio lives to play another day

Lisa Napoli Jul 16, 2007
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Lisa Napoli: An 11th-hour reprieve for Internet radio stations. Many of the stations would have had to shut down today, but extremely high royalty rates have been tabled for now. This morning I talked to Tim Westergren, the founder of one of those stations, about what happens next.

Tim Westergren: Some time has been given for webcasters and record companies and artists to reach a new royalty rate that I think will work better for everybody.

Napoli: What would you like to see come out of this?

Westergren: Look, what webcasters want is a fair rate. So we’re not looking for the lowest rate we can get; we’re looking for a rate that’s reasonable. Because we do want artists to be compensated, but just a rate that will allow it to survive which I think is in the interest not just of the webcasters but also of the musicians.

Napoli: Tim why does somebody in the car this morning, listening to this on the regular ol’ radio, care about whether your company and other companies like it can survive? Why is this important?

Westergren: I would say principally that Internet radio does something very unique which is it plays the music of a far, far wider range of artists. So, as an example, Pandora plays the music of about 40,000 artists. We have in our collection a little over a half a million songs, and on a daily basis, 95 percent of every song that we have plays. And that I think provides an incredible platform for musicians and I think one that’s on its way to creating a musicians’ middle class. I mean of the 40,000 artists that we play, I’d say you know 38,000 of them are not getting played or maybe have never been played on any form of broadcast radio. And it provides for listeners such a broader selection that will accommodate much more to listener taste.

Napoli: Tim Westergren is the founder of the online radio station called Pandora.

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