Characterising its 50,000 small radio producers as "pirates", a coalition of US corporate record labels are taking European Net radio provider Radionomy to court over what they contend are unpaid royalties.
Radionomy, whose member stations operate worldwide, supports a vast number of operations devoted to niche music genres. The Radionomy business model entails running paid advertisements for large multinational corporations such as Walmart and GEICO in heavy rotation and applying proceeds to the liability incurred by member stations. In return, those stations must deliver minimum ATH to Radionomy's sponsors; those that fail are unceremoniously deleted.
Radionomy is owned by digital mass-media company Vivendi, which also owns Net radio pioneer Shoutcast and Universal Music Group, the world's largest record company.
Following the January 2016 CRB decision that eliminated the US small webcasting music license, American small businesses and hobby stations flocked to Radionomy in a bid to stay on-stream. Of particular note were refugees from the collapse of Live365, which left an estimated 6,000 American stations without access.
The current action by corporate music interests in the US follows a 2015 Sony offensive to remove small stations, including Radionomy members, from Net radio aggregator TuneIn.
In other news, virtually all Radionomy stations suddenly went silent today at about 2100 GMT. The company's website was also down, as were those of member stations. No word on the origin of the apparently worldwide outage, or whether or not it is related to the American action. As of this writing (0050 GMT), the stations remain offline.
The Shoutcast station database also appears to be inoperative on its website, though Shoutcast stations in the NRB playlist are still up and the database is still accessible for streaming through the Internet Radio Box mobile application.
Update 2016 Mar 1: At 0351 GMT, Radionomy released a statement attributing the network-wide blackout to an unspecified "major Internet issue", and announced that it was working to have service back up soon.
Update 2016 Mar 2: Radionomy seems to be mostly back "up" as of ca. 1600 GMT.
Update 2016 April 5: Word has come from Radionomy that residents of Italy are no longer permitted to produce Radionomy stations. This comes after a protracted take-down campaign by Italian music industry authorities.
An easy way to help: Stream Radionomy stations. Boot up a good station and run it as background music. Maybe have a playlist of several, and remain at least 10 minutes (including adverts!) on each one. This accomplishes two important things: it delivers ATH to Radionomy's advertisers, strengthening their interest in supporting Radionomy, and it demonstrates citizen support; authorities generally insist that Net radio is only a grey-market (or in this case, black-market) medium, frequented by a handful of hipsters. By upping Radionomy's carefully-accounted numbers -- especially in the United States -- we imply that there could be political blowback to anyone who harms it.
Major Labels Sue Internet Radio Platform Radionomy for Copyright Infringement: "Another major threat to small and medium sized internet radio stations has surfaced."
Record Labels Sue Radionomy Over Diy ‘Pirate’ Internet Radio: "'Defendants operate an online music service through which users can listen to music stations, or create stations, that Defendants stream to listeners worldwide,' the complaint reads."
Sony Music Sues Universal Sister Company Radionomy: "Sony is claiming the maximum US statutory damages amount of $150,000 per infringed track."
Record Labels Sue Radionomy: "The company sent out a press release earlier today announcing its new iOS and Android mobile apps along with smart TV apps for Roku and Samsung TVs which indicates this move came out of nowhere."