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Live365 suffers a collision of misfortunes, lays off most employees and vacates office

Today, I decided to login to my free Live365 listener mobile app, when I kept getting “incorrect login and password” messages. I then decided to go to the live365 website to reset my password, and saw a large message that I interpreted to be very vague. I tried to escape out of the message but could not. It looks like Live365 has shut down January 31, 2016! Why? Upon further research, the Copyright Royalty Board recently released their new rates for webcasters. Unfortunately, the new rates are significantly more than Live365 could afford (what most webcasters could afford). Long story short, Live365 had to make a decision to either raise their already high membership fees to cover the royalty cost, or shut down. It would have cost a web DJ about $40+ a month (lowest package), for a maximum of about 2 hours worth of music uploaded at a time; and a maximum of 10 listeners at a time. According to the following article from “Rain News,” they have chosen to focus more on other business ventures they currently have. I think it’s good to note that streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, etc, have not been effected much, because they are under a different category; I believe it’s called “non-interactive.” However, I think these new rates for webcasters have inadvertently devastated our ability to listen to a broader selection of music, by real people and real fans. You may not see it now, but at least for us older folks, we can clearly hear the difference between music played on the radio that was hand selected by a human fan; and the kinds of music played that was mathematically selected by a computer. As far as I’m concerned a significant chunk of our music history & culture has been lost as of last month; it is because of sites like Live365 that we were able to hear music we no longer hear; it is because of Live365 that we heard music that other services don’t have a licenses for. Live365 was the only station that I could think of, where you could listen to the rarest of music not played anywhere. Not even 8Tracks have the music that Live365 had. There are some things within the human experience that a computer chip cannot replace.

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It is interesting, as much as I used to complain that not enough older folks are using streaming technology, a significant amount of seasoned folks were using and DJing with Live365. Only amateur DJs with a certain level of experience could play the kinds of music we heard there. That’s just a fact, whether you’d acknowledge it or not. This really saddened me. Live365 was an extremely unique service, that allowed real fans to share their personal music they already own, with other fans (especially when it came to classic music). Many of the stations played music you’d never hear from any Genome selected music playlist. I will truly miss them. However, again this speaks to the larger existing problem of the music industry. The music industry is trying to price music streaming in the same way they used to sell albums. If this continues, the only business that will be able to afford these licenses, will be the larger mainstream stations like Z100, etc. I really think that the answer here is YouTube. YouTube needs to be structured more like a traditional streaming music service; but unfortunately, I’m beginning to realize that it appears that the music industry is using YouTube more as a promotional tool, and the smaller webcasters/internet radio are being used to off set royalties. Well, the decision holds till about 5 years; and I don’t think that much change will happen till then.

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