Last week’s article on the powerful and rapidly changing face of music streaming predicted in point number 5 that “Music May Not Remain Totally “Free.”  In the next two weeks that prediction will come trues as iTunes Radio, the alleged “Pandora killer,” announced it will enter the arena of the pay for music service as iTunes Radio becomes part of Apple Music’s monthly music subscription service.  iTunes Radio launched in September, 2013, with a Goliath type declaration comparable to Apple Music’s predictionsMUSIC STREAMING SERVICES LOGO Another “interesting” announcement was thedisbanding of the iAd sales team, Apple’s mobile sales advertisement division. iAd will only exist as an automated transaction platform. The combination of dismissing the sales team and discontinuing iTunes Radio as a free listening service, signal Apple’s exit from the streaming audio advertising marketplace. Some starched shirt executive feels there is more revenue to be generated by charging a monthly fee as opposed to selling ads to support the service so they may pay pittance in royalty fees. Only time will tell if the alleged 10-million paying and trial subscribers remain engaged as Apple attempts to change the streaming music industry. Music’s only free-listening outlet after January 29th will be Beats 1, a live-radio experience hosted by DJ’s that is absent of any streaming interactivity or user personalization. INTERNET RADIO LOGOAll of this selling, shuttering and paying took a sharp yet silent turn when the entire streaming and webcasting landscape transformed with little fanfare on January 1, 2016 when the Webcaster Settlement Act (WSA) of 2009 expired. Many neophytes in the streaming game know few of the details of WSA. Additionally, small and medium streaming providers have 15 business days to decide whether to continue streaming in 2016 with a much higher cost of music. According to Attorney Kevin Goldberg, Goldberg, the February 1 payment of $500 is like a non-refundable deposit which allows a webcaster to stream a station in 2016 under the current royalty structure. On December 16, 2015 the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) set new rates for 2016. Many smaller web-casters feel shaded by the CRB for failing to protect them, but the CRB claims no influence when it comes to making special deals for defined groups. This is a one size fits all rate. The web-casters who will feel the biggest financial pinch were not represented in the CRB process, where participation is too expensive for individual internet stations and where no organized advocacy came forward. One may ask, who knew enough to come forward? With that said, the million-dollar question is, what’s next? Contact the CRB and let your voice be heard!  There is clearly a great deal of value in all forms of webcasting or this would not be happening. Don’t allow the actions of a few starched shirts silence your webcast and allow the four major players to push you out of the game!  We don’t need a repeat of 1996 de-regulation….I’m just saying Just some FYI web-casters… 1.    February 1 (extended from January 31 which falls on Sunday): File an annual minimum fee and statement of account form and pay $500 per channel. That fee is due separately for each station, in cases where a web-caster operates multiple stations. It is non-refundable. The money goes toward royalty obligations, but any excess at the end of the year is not paid back to the web-caster. 2.    March 15: Submit the year’s first monthly statement of account and pay your licensing bill. Those are due within 45 days after the end of each month. The first deadline is for January’s streaming. 3.    Along with #2, submit your report of use, which contains data about every song you played during the month.