View Full Version : The Future of Aural Moon

09-05-2002, 09:26 PM
Hi one and all!

First off: no, we're not going away. Rather, there are a few interesting developments that we need to make a decision on. Your input is greatly desired; this station "belongs" to the listener as much as it does to me. You've made this station the largest progressive rock shoutcast radio station on earth. And we want you to keep listening to Aural Moon for years to come.

As most of you are probably aware, the RIAA (the Recording Industry Association of America) has decided to kill internet radio as we know it. It can do this, since it controls a large part of the recording copyrights in the music industry,and they've decided to impose a new internet-only royalty rates that will obliterate all but the largest webcasters.

The great site www.saveinternetradio.org (http://www.saveinternetradio.org/) descibes the situation succinctly:

Most Internet radio stations are at risk of bankruptcy, and may be forced off the air by October 20th, because of a Congressionally-imposed royalty they will soon be required to pay to record labels. (You may have heard this called a "CARP" royalty, named for the U.S. Copyright Office's Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel that held hearings on what the rate should be.)

If the record industry (the RIAA) doesn't offer a compromise "voluntary" license to smaller webcasters and/or if Congress doesn't pass emergency legislation by October 20th, most observers believe that the decision will effectively kill Internet radio. (The retroactive portion of the fees will bankrupt all but the very largest Internet-only webcasters e.g., AOL, Yahoo!, and Microsoft. The fees will also probably trigger the shutdown of most remaining broadcast stations' Internet simulcasts, including almost all the educational and community stations )
And that's where we stand. Wth all things Congress, you hope for the best, and prepare for the worst - we must be prepared for the current outrageous rates to go through. We play a fair deal of independent music, but even in the best case scenario, we'd have to pull a lot of great music out of the playlist to avoid paying these fees.

Add this to the already very high costs to run Aural Moon (many thanks to our donors who make it a little easier for us), and you have the making for some shakeups in the industry. Some stations have already shut down. And some are staying, trying to figure out a way through this mess.

There is one solution that we're looking at: becoming anaudiorealm.com (http://www.audiorealm.com) subscription station. Aural Moon would no longer be a free station. Listeners would pay $5/month to get access to not only Aural Moon, but the many, many other stations at audiorealm.com (including classical, rock, metal, techno, news, talk, and even other progressive rock stations). By being a member in this way, our costs go way, way down, and all of our music licensing is covered (incuding ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc.), and our future would be as secure as it can be. More money to spend on great music for you?

Of course, we realize that much of our listenership comes from folks tuning us in, and finidng us by accident on their IM or iTunes dial, or inteh shoutcast.com directory. All of those links woud go away, and we'd focus on enticing people to subscribe to audiorealm.com.

How many of you would follow us to audiorealm.com? I think $5/month for all that music is a great deal. You may be thinking that you'd just listen to another free station - but there might not be any free stations around soon.

Another advantage to audiorealm.com affiliation is that we can stream in many different formats to our listeners: mp3 at 24k, 56k, and 128k. Windows Media at 21k, and 96k. (Note: those who've signed up for the subscription 128k stream will continue to get that stream for free, but no longer the 56k or 24k - and you wouldn't be subsribed to audiorealm.com. Future donations would not apply to an exculsive high-speed stream, since it will be part of the audiorealm.com subscriber deal. It would go to new music, however!)

Tell us what you think! And answer the poll as well.



09-05-2002, 09:43 PM
Count me in. A bargain at twice the price, especially if there are no commercials.

09-05-2002, 09:44 PM
No commercials, as I understand it.

09-06-2002, 05:20 AM
$5/month is a fair price for 24h service of music I never hear on radio and sometimes is hard to obtain on CD.

I only wonder if the 128k-stream would keep its bitrate all the way to Europe. The 56k stream is steady enough. Are there any
European 128k-subscribers who can share their experiences on that point? Have there been any complaints?

Of course, the security of the payment routines is always an issue too...

09-06-2002, 09:15 AM
I read that Progrock.com plans to re-launch their internet radio station soon by using the open-source Ogg Vorbis technology instead of Mp3. According to their news release, the Ogg Vorbis technology is not required to pay royalties (at least, not yet). I'm not sure how feasible this would be for AM, but it seems like it could be a better solution. Has AM looked into this option?

09-06-2002, 11:00 AM
No - they're talking about the possibility that mp3s (even the ones you use at home) could be required to be licensed. In other words, you'd have to pay for every mp3 that you have on your computer! That hasn't happened yet - but the wind is blowing that way. That's a whole 'nother issue altogether. (We'd be covered by audiorealm if that did happen). (For the record OV technology is a very sketchy technology that's in beta right now, and at the moment does NOT sound better than mp3 - but they're working on it).

We're talking about the RIAA royalties for webcasting sound recordings. Every internet radio station will be responsible for that, incuding progrock.com. In fact, that's the reason original owner Jerry George sold his station - he couldn't deal with the possibility of these new fees on top of everything else. The new owners are based outside the U.S. I believe - I'm not sure what they're going to do regarding licencing - but if their streaming servers are here in the U.S. they'll have to pay those outrageous fees, too - or go in with audiorealm. They could also go with live365.com, but it's a similar situation (you have to pay to listen). We're not considering live365.com because of their poor service.

As a note, progged.com (proggresive metal) and CP Radio (progressive) have already joined the audiorealm network.


09-06-2002, 01:47 PM
This is a new tax - having to pay for broadcast music on the net. This is what we say over here.
Since listening to AM I have bought many CD's that I would not have bought otherwise. In Scandanavia there is no other practical source for progressive rock so listening to AM I have been introduced to new music I did not know existed. If there are more people like me then these greedy bastards in the industry and Congress are making a big mistake, because they will lose money and power in the long run. The pirate industry will still grow with imports flowing in from the Far East ect.
Why can't the politicians except the fact that there must be room for the minorities in our democracy.
The conclusion is that I will pay the $5 if there no other alternative, but then I hope I can try the 128k band to find out how stable it is over here. Others I have triede would not be worth the money.

Peter the Viking, Denmark:D

09-06-2002, 11:26 PM
We'll also probably have a 96k Windows Media stream, that might be a little better for high latency connections..

Our 56k stream will still be available as well as a 128k mp3.


09-07-2002, 03:10 PM
I was under the impression that congress was currently debating some kind of legislation that would reverse the RIAA decision. What is the situation with that?


09-07-2002, 03:44 PM
It's just a vague bill that wil be introduced at some point, hopefully. It doesn't look very likely to pass both houses of Congress and become law (most bills don't).


09-08-2002, 06:02 PM
Do I remember correctly that AM was once in the process of obtaining permission from certain artists and labels to broadcast without the application of fees, thus circumventing the CARP rulings? Does that remain a viable alternative? Or does the RIAA (aka government?) have control over ALL copyrighted material?
It still seems to me there would be many artists who would gladly give permission so they could reach the prog buying public.

09-08-2002, 06:30 PM
Yes, we can do that. Many independent artists we play own the copyright to their sound recordings.

However, there's a LOT of music, especially classic prog, where major labels own the copyright. We could remove these artists to avoid paying fees for them, but that would mean saying goodbye to all of the classic Yes, Genesis, Rush, King Crimson, Camel, Kansas, ELP, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Frank Zappa, Mannheim Steamroller, Al Dimeola, Alan Holdsworth, Traffic, Vangelis, Procul Harum, Moody Blues, Renaissance, Queen, The Dixie Drgs, Mike Oldfield,most of the solo albms from the memebers of these bands and so much more. I really can't imagine Aural Moon without this much progressive rock.


09-09-2002, 04:14 AM
I agree with Peter the Viking; listening to internet radio such a AM has opened up new music to me, and I have bought more CDs as a result than I would otherwise. Most music radio over here in the UK is unlistenable for my tastes, so internet radio has been great.

The RIAA has made a big mistake here; their claims that internet radio and MP3 are killing their industry are wrong. It is their pushing of so much mediocre music that is doing that (at least in the UK).

I think I will be paying the $5 though.

Good luck!

09-11-2002, 12:47 PM
As much as I love AuralMoon, there is one problem for me. i'm not going to quabble of $5 a month, however, I don't have internet access at home. I'm in grad school and dollars are scarce. I can't pay for internet acccess at home per month - too much money. I do all my internet stuff at the universities computer labs, including listening to AM on headphones. Recently, the school decided to limit all bandwidth eaters, and so I usually can't get AM even at school. In short, while I keep up with the developments here, I haven't actually "listened" to AM in over two months. Even when I can get in through the bandwidth at the school, it's definitely only free stuff. If AM goes to Audiorealm.com, that will be the end of Yesspaz - not because I don't want to, but because I can't. Gas, food, and rent are more immediate to my needs than internet radio

09-12-2002, 08:07 AM
Like several others in this forum, I have bought a considerable number of cds as a result of discovering new music on AM. If the greedy bastards in the record industry don't appreciate that they will lose business by dint of this additional tax, then their companies deserve to die. I for one refuse to help these idiots.
Here in the UK we have no progressive rock radio stations and the music industry is only interested in manufacturing bands that they can sell to children who seem to be prepared to accept this. Image is all. It's not about music anymore.
Besides if you add up all the taxes we already pay in the UK, (petrol, alcohol and cigarette taxes in excess of 80%) and that the average taxpayer is left with about 30% of what they earn,which actually pays for the goods and services they get, (draws breath!!!) then I don't feel particularly inclined to contribute to the U.S. exchequer!
Sorry AM!
Rant over.
One even more miserable old git!:mad:

09-12-2002, 08:11 AM
If you mean by choosing not to pay the $5/mo fee for the audiorealm stations you are somehow sticking it to the RIAA, it's exactly the opposite.

By paying the $5/mo subscription fee, we pay NOTHING to the RIAA. Otherwise, they get a lot of the station's money.


09-13-2002, 10:10 AM
Count me in! I love my 128k stream.

09-13-2002, 11:29 AM
A friend turned me onto AM months ago. I am now a certified addict. With my new noise cancelling headphones, I can work uninteruppted, and enjoy some really great music. I can't imagine not having AM to listen to now. So while I hate to let go of any of my hard earned cash, $5 is not much to ask to keep it going. There are no commercials, no traffic reports, no weather, no BS, just good music. I voted that I would pay the fee. I hope more do so because AM is just too good to lose.


09-15-2002, 06:13 PM
Well... i wouldn' t pay it. Here are my reasons:

I live in Brazil. It's not worth paying $5 because of the quality of my internet connection. Despite the good quality of music I listen on AM, it's sometimes truncated/interrupted here (sometimes I can get to a good 56k connection in my college). Even if had my own fast connection, dolars worth too much here to be sent away to the U.S.

I'd be sorry if I couldn't listen to music from the net, which is my main source of prog.

Is there a way of making in the future, a non-mainstream, free AM station (a secondary station), separating great bands (which demand royalties) from more alternative bands, for listeners like me, who are fond of new and unknown stuff?

I have one more question: What happens if AM servers get located outside U.S. ? What are the limits of the U.S. national law?

09-16-2002, 02:34 PM
I voted probably not, but that is because I am but a poor student from Europe, and need all the money I can save :{

If things were other, I'd gladly pay for the great music you play. (Also I only recently tried internet-radio, and am not sure if I stay long, since I tend to stop several things after the novelty to me is gone....)

09-16-2002, 07:15 PM
Originally posted by Avian
By paying the $5/mo subscription fee, we pay NOTHING to the RIAA. Otherwise, they get a lot of the station's money.

How does this work? Audiorealm's website says a couple of things.

One: "Complete DCMA and RIAA/Sound Exchange sound performance record keeping and compliancy tracking and reporting system." Does this mean that Audiorealm pays the fees out of AM's subscription fees?

Two: "When applying to the Audiorealm Network, you agree that all materials on your site and originating from your Webcast are licensed by you or owned by you." Er, is this not applicable for the particular service AM is considering?

Three: "Multi-format Streaming support. - Mp3, Lame, Ogg, WMA" Any chance of hearing AM via Ogg?

Four: "Automated Advertising and Syndicated content insertion including "LIVE" content like Breaking News, Weather, Talk Shows, Concert Events, etc." Hopefully this is optional and not completely automatic.

09-16-2002, 08:16 PM
Originally posted by wombat

How does this work? Audiorealm's website says a couple of things.

One: "Complete DCMA and RIAA/Sound Exchange sound performance record keeping and compliancy tracking and reporting system." Does this mean that Audiorealm pays the fees out of AM's subscription fees?

Yes, Audiorealm does pay them. They also pay for our bandwidth, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. They will negotiate a blanket license with the RIAA that we will fall under. Any fees are their responsibility.

Two: "When applying to the Audiorealm Network, you agree that all materials on your site and originating from your Webcast are licensed by you or owned by you." Er, is this not applicable for the particular service AM is considering?

This means that you are licensed for any material you use. RIAA-qualifing music, no problem, you're covered by audiorealm. If someone wanted to stream the audio from Star Wars, Episode I, or the BBC broadcast of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, then audiorealm requires you to have the license from the MPAA and the BBC respectivley.

Three: "Multi-format Streaming support. - Mp3, Lame, Ogg, WMA" Any chance of hearing AM via Ogg?

Absolutley, but what I will probably look at first is Windows Media. Windows Media 9 beta is out, and when it's released, nothing else will compare to it. Shouldn't be too long, either.

Four: "Automated Advertising and Syndicated content insertion including "LIVE" content like Breaking News, Weather, Talk Shows, Concert Events, etc." Hopefully this is optional and not completely automatic.

Audioream has personally assured me that they will not run ads in their stream. Probably not even IDs, but they wanted to reserve the right to throw an ID in there every once in awhile, if need be.

Good questions!

09-17-2002, 09:54 PM
I have always thought it absurd that ANY radio station has to pay to play somebody's music. When a radio station plays an artist, it promotes that artist and stimulates sales of that artist's work. But the RIAA is so greedy that it tries to get still more money out of airplay.

In the past, I have voluntarily contributed money to this station, because it went to AuralMoon; but I will NOT pay $5 a month because I do NOT want any of my money going to the RIAA. Pay that money and the RIAA wins.

My suggestion: delete all artists whose record companies are too stupid and/or greedy to see that they benefit from free airplay on AuralMoon. Like others here, I have bought CDs from artists (all on non-major labels) that I first heard here. I listen to AuralMoon to discover new music; if I need to hear "Close to the Edge" for the 1000th time, it's in my collection and I'll go play it myself.

The sooner the major labels go out of business, the better....

09-19-2002, 04:10 AM

As a Mac user I worry when the word 'Windows' starts to appear, as this normally means that something will no longer be available to me. Is there any assurance you can give me that, if I do go with the $5, I won't find your station unavailable to me 'cos you've changed your streaming format?

Whats wrong with MP3?

09-19-2002, 11:22 AM
Windows Media would be offered in addition to MP3

09-19-2002, 11:31 AM
Hey don't forget - Microsoft owns a substantial portion of Apple Computer!

Windows Media Player is also avaialble for the Mac, so don't worry. Windows Media offers much better quality sound for the same bitrate than mp3. Say you listen to the 56k connection on mp3.. on a 56k Windows Media 9 stream, you'll get near CD-quality. It will especially benefit overseas listeners whose latency and bandwidth can't support a 128k mp3 connection. Even low bitrate connections, like the 21k one we feature here, sound a LOT better than mp3 24k connections.

Plus, Windows Media streams go right through most workplace firewalls.


09-19-2002, 11:36 AM
Thanks for reassuring me.

I have tried the Mac version of Windows Media player in the past (Mac OS 9 version) and it was virtually unusable (flaky, causing crashes all the time etc), so I've avoided it. Is there a Mac OS X version available? Is it usable?

09-19-2002, 12:35 PM
Yes, there is an OSX version:


09-20-2002, 01:23 PM

Like several others, I have bought CDs strictly from hearing them on AM.
Now, a question: Does Congress or the RIAA care about how much money a station pays? In other words, say AM has 1000 subscribers each paying 5 bucks, and AM has a playlist of 10,000 titles.
Now, what if RadioGaGa has a million subscribers each paying 5 bucks for an equivalent 10,000 titles.

Am has collected 5 thousand dollars, and GaGA has collected 5 million dollars for an equivalent amount of titles.

Does this matter? Is there a chance the RIAA will charge more per listener for a station with a smaller audience?

09-20-2002, 04:09 PM
Hold on - I think you're getting confused.

Your $5/mo does not go to the RIAA. It goes to audiorealm. Audiorealm pays a flat fee to teh RIAA for all of its station (some negotiated amount). The $5 goes toward our bandwidth, our website and all the royalties and performance fees.

The size of the playlist doesn't come into play whatsoever.

If we were not with audiorealm, the fee is based on how many listeners listen to each song. Each of those "units" is called a performance. 10 folks listen to a hour that contains ten songs - that's 100 performances.

09-24-2002, 11:57 AM
it's nice that someone is getting 128k stream

How do I access 128k stream? I paid $50 and sent you 2 emails and have not gotten a reply.

Outstanding station.

09-24-2002, 01:22 PM
I sent you an email. When I get back home today, I'll send it again.

I think some outgoing mail was lost when our webhost's mailserver went belly up about a week or so ago.

Sorry for any confusion.


09-24-2002, 03:50 PM
Progress may be happening between small webcasters and the RIAA.