SomaFM


SomaFM

__NOTOC__SomaFM is a listener-supported non-commercial Internet-only streaming music station, which started broadcasting out of Rusty Hodge's garage in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, California. SomaFM is one of the largest Internet-only radios, with 1 million listener-hours per month. SomaFM plays mainly alternative electronic genres, including glitch, ambient, chill out, and downtempo.

History

SomaFM began as a pirate radio station broadcast at the Burning Man festival in 1999. The response to the project was sufficiently positive that Rusty Hodge launched it as a full-time internet radio station in February 2000. Taking its name from the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco and Soma, "perfect pleasure drug" from Brave New World, and marketed entirely by word of mouth, SomaFM's twelve channels reached a peak listenership of 10,000 by 2002.

Conflict with the RIAA

In May 2002, the DMCA CARP ruling came into effect, which enabled RIAA representatives to subject online broadcasters to royalty fees, designed – in the opinion of many online broadcasters – to drive those broadcasters out of business. SomaFM was asked to pay 14/100 of a cent for each recording broadcast retroactively through October 1998 which could have potentially shut down the station. Hodge initially estimated that the station could have been forced to pay fees to the RIAA of over $1,000 USD per day to continue operations. In June 2002, SomaFM was forced to stop streaming due to a potential bill of $15,000 USD per month to continue broadcasting.

Hodge organized a letter-writing campaign, and finally testified before the U.S. Congress in 2002. As a consequence of this grass-roots action, Congress passed the Small Broadcasters Amendment Act, which enabled SomaFM to negotiate a more reasonable rate with the RIAA. SomaFM eventually negotiated a royalty rate of 11.8%, which enabled them to go back on the air in December 2002 for $2000-$5000 USD per year.

On June 26, 2007, SomaFM participated in the "Internet Radio Day of Silence" in protest of the Copyright Royalty Board's recent decision to raise royalty fees for internet radio stations (which go back retroactively to January 1, 2006), which were planned to go into effect on July 15th. On July 13 some services were allowed to continue paying at the older rates while good-faith negotiations were continuing, [http://www.pillsburylaw.com/content/portal/publications/2007/7/2007726172921781/Communications%20Media%20Entertainment%20Copyrights%20IP%20Vol%202600%20No%202603%2007-26-07.pdf] pending a different decision by the Copyright Royalty Board or by congress on the Internet Radio Equality Act.

Programming

As of June 2008, SomaFM's channel lineup consists of:

SomaFM also has a podcast through National Public Radio's [http://www.npr.org/rss/pod/alt-npr.html alt.NPR] called "Groove Salad Taste of the Week".

References

*cite news
first=Chris
last=Coomey
url=http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/06/30/DDGKO7DJ651.DTL
title=Move over, pirate radio — from a Bernal Heights garage, Internet station SomaFM plays tunes for the whole wide world, and it’s all perfectly legal
publisher=San Francisco Chronicle
date=June 30, 2004
accessdate=2006-03-16

*cite news
first=Katharine
last=Mieszkowski
url=http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2002/03/26/web_radio/
title=Web radio's last stand
work=Technology and Business
publisher=Salon.com
date=June 21, 2002
accessdate=2006-03-16

*cite web
date=June 21, 2002
url=http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/6/21/73329/8778
title=RIAA kills US-based Internet radio
publisher=Kuro5hin
accessdate=2006-03-16

External links

* [http://somafm.com/ SomaFM website]


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