Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dark Days in Indie Paradise: Attempts to Destroy Your Beloved Radio

NBTMusicRadio

 

This is, we believe, extremely important as it deals with issues affecting not only our radio but internet radio the world over. And through the domino effect, ALL independent musicians. So while it is a slightly longer read than normal , it IS worth it

 

Greetings to all constant listeners from the NBTMusicRadio, the ‘little radio that could’. And greetings to all the Bands, Songwriters and Artistic Creators who make this enterprise so worthwhile

The last few weeks, and especially the last few days, have been hectic, disturbing and, I will admit pretty tough. There are ongoing attempts to willfully cripple the way that small, but essential broadcasters like us get out to you, these attempts are fueled in part by sheer clumsy greed, a smattering of unfounded paranoia, and a large helping of bull-headed ignorance about the way this beautiful internet and independent music works.

As many of you know (and a fair few may not) we run the NBTMusicRadio from the host platform Radionomy.  The Platform has been running from about 2008 and has a great programming set up, which enables us to get out the best playlist possible. The other really important reason we joined this platform, is that Radionomy promised and continues to promise that they would take care of ALL copyright and royalty payments and issues, working directly and indirectly with regularity bodies across the world.

This was/is essential to us as archaic set ups, lobbied for and paid by, major labels and their controlling company parents ensure that, without deals like this, the normal small broadcaster could not afford to operate. That is a major reason why terrestrial radio, and giant online platforms all shove out the same music all of the time.  Apart from the fact it’s easier to do, the powers that be, believe, it is easier to control the listening habits of the public, and that they can give them as little as possible, while making the biggest possible profits.

 

then we come along. The Different, The Deviant

 

Then we, small broadcasters with an independent mind set, (and those amazing blogs that spring up and inform us of the new and wonderful) appear and start causing fractures, tiny fractures, hairline cracks really, upon this huge construction they have built, and boy they really don’t like that at all.

Radionomy have been bought out by Vivendi, a giant multi enterprise, worth billions. They own one of those major labels we were speaking about earlier. When they took over, we were all assured that what we were doing and how we were doing it was not going to change... this sadly did NOT prove to be true.

The first thing to happen, almost immediately after the announcement of the takeover, is that Sony Music ( Vivendi’s major rival and probably second largest label in the states) issued a law suit against Radionomy, alleging that they were ‘pirates’  and wanted them to be forbidden to broadcast to American listeners. Then without even waiting for a court case to take place (it STLL hasn’t even started) it bullied/coerced several internet listing stations and app producers to ‘take down, stations operating under the Radionomy/Vivendi umbrella. To their eternal shame, some companies did just that , even though radios like mine do not play artists from the Sony roster, as we believe it is totally irrelevant to what we do. Even when it comes to their back catalogue, we removed any artist of theirs, even sadly Bowie, we were still removed from those resources.

Being used to these games and power play shenanigans, we soon found alternatives, regarding apps and listings and so on.  Something that the majors never seem to understand, this is the internet, and there is ALWAYS a way.

As we struggled on, it seemed to us that, Vivendi had not really bought Radionomy because of an interest in internet radio, small broadcasters, or indeed music in any form or shape. They seemed to have bought Radionomy purely for their advertising branch Target Spot. A potentially money making resource handled with (in our biased and admittedly somewhat uneducated opinion) extreme incompetence so far.
  
 

 

Into the Heart Of The Matter

 

Then last week, on the day before a five day long weekend/holiday in Belgium, where Radionomy operates from, we suddenly found to our extreme concern that several countries were being Geo-blocked from listening to us and the other 50 thousands radios on the platform.  Geo-Block is the process of not allowing internet users from a certain location from accessing websites or other content. Not a single word or explanation was given to us, in fact the entire Radionomy staff fled the offices. Adding Insult to injury (again without telling us) for those listeners, our carefully thought out programming was diverted to a Radionomy owned station, (while keeping our cover art and artist info) which played elevator music of the very worst kind.

To top off this disgusting behaviour, yesterday we received this short announcement from Radionomy management.

‘’Radionomy decided to geo-block radio stations broadcasting in some countries. These countries represent only a limited part of the audience.’’

What they had basically done, I imagine under the commands of their new masters, is just stop listeners from any country deemed not worthy to their profit margin from getting our broadcasts. They had also, out of the kind of spite only big business can manage, geo blocked huge listenership countries that we believe their rivals have more control over.

They have NOT bothered to tell us exactly what countries have been blocked, and in fact have not answered ANY questions at all (and let me tell you there are bloody hundreds of them)

Some of the countries affected that we know of:  are
Japan (yes I know—‘a limited part’ of a global audience according to Radionomy) Canada , Brazil , Switzerland, parts of South Africa, many Countries in Asia and the Far East, Switzerland, Russia, Turkey, many countries in South America, plus many more all over the globe.

We were initially and naturally frantic about this, as the very reason for our existence, is to reach All parts of the world, and promote music from ALL over the globe, not just countries that some suit/bean-counter has decided doesn’t fit onto his power point presentation for that day.

We have come up with a very good work around.


We will be adding this link to http://www.yourmuze.fm/webplayer/nbtmusicradio onto all of the pages on our two websites, and with that player no matter what country you are listening from you can get our broadcast... It’s not exactly a pretty thing, but it shows artist and track info (VERY important to us) and most important it plays our (your) music.

So if you go to one of our pages, and you hear crappy elevator music, switch off the default player and click on the link to the above player, and sanity will be restored.
I believe, but have not tested it, that this player also works for cell phones.

 So that is the situation so far... We have asked Radionomy these following questions we believe they HAVE to answer.
‘’Since the announcement about the Geo Blocking, is as usual, both locked and incredibly vague, there are some follow questions i would imagine we ALL need answers to.. TODAY.. so we can all decide how to deal with this.

1) Which countries have been Geo Blocked? we need a full list of those countries please
2) the Countries that have NOT been Geo Blocked, can radionomy tell us in clear and un-ambiguous terms whether they are now paying/covering Royalty and Copyright fees for those countries, so that we are all legally covered broadcasting to listeners in those countries.
3) the post says '' In these countries a specific message will be broadcast to the listeners connecting to the station'' when will that start actually taking effect? at the moment countries you deem unworthy are still being re-directed to your jamendo lounge radio, which frankly just makes our radios look bad as it is as far from our normal programming as is possible

looking forward to your reply on this’’


There are probably many more just as important questions that need to be answered, I am pretty sure.
As I write this, there is STILL no reply what so ever to these questions and to the many other broadcasters some who are now denied access to the very radios they created because they live in the wrong country.


I would like to have YOUR feedback to this, reply with your thoughts to this email, or even better those that are on my personal Facebook page post comments about what you think about all of this.

The bottom line is, I, and the NBTMusicRadio, will never be bullied into only broadcasting to some of you, all independent music, of all genres and tribes are important to us and ever shall remain so

Martin
NBTMusicRadio

http://nbtmusic.de/ 

http://nbtmusicradio.org
(Always: wonderful works in progress)
http://nbtmusic.radio.net/  (Web, iPhone)
http://www.yourmuze.fm/webplayer/nbtmusicradio (especially for those with Geo-Block Issues)
iTunes: Click on 'Open Stream'
and paste: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u
stream thru WinAmp, VLC or other media players: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u 
 
 
 

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