Many internet radio services will go silent today in protest at plans to increase royalty fees paid by web broadcasters.
Many US web broadcasters have protested that the royalty hikes, which will be backdated to January 2006, will put them out of business, as well as reducing the choice availble for listeners.
Many major broadcasters have joined the protest, including Yahoo!, Rhapsody and Pandora.
The royalty fee increases are due to be applied on July 15th, when web radio services will have to pay 17 months’ of fees at the new increased royalty rate. Under the new rates, they will pay a flat fee per song, which will rise every year up to 2010, and will eventually be almost three times higher than current charges.
TechCrunch recently speculated that Last.fm’s absence could give rise to a backlash from users.
Last.fm has defended itself on the Last HQ blog, pointing out that it has been dealing with royalty fees since it started up, and that it didn’t believe it was fair to punish its listeners for its problems.