Once upon a time, anyone could access the online stream of a radio station from anywhere. It didn’t matter if you were another country or another ocean away. A couple of clicks and you were able to access a real-time on-air stream of a faraway radio station.You can still do that, but it’s getting harder and hard.
For example, there’s a talk station in LA that I think is among the best in the world. Can I stream it through my computer. Nope. That’s because KFI AM 640 is owned by iHeartRadio (formerly Clearchannel) and they geo-block their streams. No access outside the United States. Some thing if you want to try a service like Hulu. (Yes, yes, I know there are ways of spoofing an IP address to gain access, but let’s not go there right now. Oh, okay. What the hell.)
Americans, though, were free to access online streams of Canadian radio stations. I know this to be true because I get email from people across ‘Merica from people who listen to The Ongoing History of New Music. I also know of a community stations that has hundreds of thousands of listeners every day from far beyond our borders.
Well, we now have a problem.
Due to a music licensing dispute initiated on the US side of the border, most Canadian broadcasters have geo-blocked the US. We’ve been told that we–Canada–no longer have the copyright performance rights to be able to stream music to a US audience. So much for Canadian stations–and a LOT of Canadian music–from being heard in ‘Merica. This includes my Ongoing History of New Music, of course.
Canadian broadcasters would LOVE to keep supplying this content, but because of the complexities of this issue–music licensing is NEVER simple–we can’t. The costs for licensing Canadian signals into the US is…well, they’re huge. And they based on the number of listeners Canadian radio has in the US, it’s not cost effective.
And if we refuse to pay, guess what? The whole thing will turn into an ugly, expensive court case. Best just shut it down.
Sorry, America. We’d love to keep supplying you with awesome audio content, but your music licensing people will have none of it. Take it up with them.
Meanwhile, though, there is a way to access Ongoing History of New Music material in a different way. Go here to see what I mean. Spread the word, America!