As I mentioned a few days back (“Internet radio under fire“), there’s a train that’s been coming down the track for some time. For the internet radio broadcasting network Live365, it’s scheduled to pull into the station by the end of the month. For Gumbo Radio, it also means we will cease our broadcast next weekend on January 31, 2016.
In an email to its broadcasters on January 15, Live365 stated:
We are sad that we are closing our doors at the end of this month. There are always possibilities that we can come back in one form or another, but at this point in time, January 31, 2016 is the last day that Live365’s streaming servers and website will be maintained and supported.
This is a surprise to us as it is to all of you. We are proud that Live365 was a pioneer in the streaming music business and have provided a platform to hundreds of thousands of broadcasters to have a voice over the years.
Unfortunately, we have to say good bye. …
We are honored to have served your needs over the last decade and a half.
It has been a wild ride both economically, from the pre-dotcom bust days all the way through the Great Recession, as well as technologically, with internet radio going from an unknown, quirky, muddy idea to a ubiquitous technology that hundreds of millions enjoy. Sadly, Live365’s portion of the ride is ending.
Again, streaming services and website access will not be supported beyond 1/31/2016.
We have extremely limited resources with the current skeleton crew. We regret that we will not be able to respond to all of you, so we apologize in advance.
All the best,
The Live365 Team
Until Live365 pulls the plug, Gumbo Radio will keep rolling. After January 31, this website will remain up, as will the Facebook page. If I figure out a solution to all this, I’ll post information through these two avenues.
I started this little project with Live365 in December 2008. It was a few years after my brother Shamus and I, along with our father, had created one of the first internet radio stations – LouisianaRadio.com. After that venture, I couldn’t shake the broadcast bug, so I started Gumbo Radio. The great thing about Live365’s operation was that they were paying BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC for the small shops like Gumbo Radio to broadcast. Under the new regulations, which I think are needed to pay musicians what they justly deserve for their work, the larger outfits like Spotify and Pandora will have to pay more for music. Live365 contends that the new costs are driving it out of business.
Since I learned within the last month that Live365 was shutting down, I’ve been looking at other options. As best I can surmise, in order to continue broadcasting the 24-hour, live stereo music stream, I’m looking at costs that are at least ten times what I’ve been paying to broadcast Gumbo Radio over Live365. Raising and ensuring a steady revenue stream to run this operation would then turn this into a job—and work. That’s never what this has been about, and I’m not looking to start now.
I’ve never made a dime on Gumbo Radio. It’s always been a money-losing proposition, but I’ve been cool with that. It was my hobby. My golf. I let my kids record voiceovers for the station and let them chime in on which songs needed to be added to and removed from the mix. In the seven years we’ve been broadcasting, we’ve amassed a catalog of 18,545 songs for a playlist that’s over 44.7 days long. The primary focus has always been on the music of Louisiana, but I’ve thrown other artists into the mix like James Brown, Bob Wills, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Mississippi Sheiks, Randy Newman, Otis Redding, Big Star, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Flat Duo Jets, R.L. Burnside, Mose Allison, Junior Kimbrough, and ZZ Top. In October 2012, I initiated an Indiegogo campaign (Gumbo Radio: phase deux) to upgrade some gear, and we surpassed our goal by 53 percent with the help of our faithful listeners.
The current situation puts me in a funk—not the good kind where The Meters are playing. Gumbo Radio has been a place where I’ve been able to scratch multiple itches—music, broadcasting, and computers. I’m not looking for this part of my life to end. I’ve met some wonderful people, both in person and online, who share a common love of music. For that, I’m thankful. That’s been the greatest part of all this—that music has done what it’s supposed to do. It’s brought people together.
I’m also frustrated. It’s like my seven-year-old daughter said the other day after I explained the situation to her, “There just seems like there’s something we can do.” I tried to explain to her that sometimes the costs outweigh the benefits, and you just have to move on. I tried to also remind her—as I’ve been trying to tell myself—that maybe there’s a reason for all of this. Maybe there’s something else at work here that we’re just not seeing clearly right now.
I can’t help but recall what Joe Burge (aka Dr. Feelgood) told me back in 2002 when he talked about Swamp ‘n’ Roll, “It’s been a groove. . . . We’ve been doing what we want to do. We haven’t made a king’s fortune at it, but we’ve made people happy. If at all stopped today, we could look back on it and say, ‘Yeah, it was worth it.'”
Amen, brother.Read More
Internet radio is under fire again. The rates for broadcasting music over the internet have gone up, and most of the music lovers who run these mom-and-pop operations won’t to be able to keep the music rolling. This piece from the San Diego Reader reports, “The rate increase also seems to be choking the life out of Live365, a popular internet radio network that offers some 260 ‘human curated’ indie stations — an international platform that showcases diverse formats …”
Gumbo Radio has been a part of the Live365 network since 2008. Bill Kraski, a Live365 listener, recently noted:
Most of [Live365’s] broadcasters are small. … But they include really good lesser known artists, who seem to be ignored by mainstream stations. …
Part of what allowed Live365 to do what it did was the artist royalty agreement. Until recently, small broadcasters had a different, lower royalty payment schedule. This allowed the little guys who have little or no advertising to be more competitive. In some cases, it’s the only thing that allowed them to exist. Very recently, that part of the royalty agreement was eliminated. Now, Joe Local pays the same rate as NBC or CBS, even though they have a smaller and, most likely, more niche audience. It’s a rate increase many can’t handle.
The change scared off some of the investors [of Live365], forcing a downsizing of staff. Live365 is actively looking for new investors. But, if they don’t regain more backing, Live365 streaming could be totally offline on January 31. …
The New York Times reports that Columbia University’s WKCR has shut down its online operation.
To use sound recordings online, most radio stations deal with SoundExchange, a nonprofit agency that handles licensing on behalf of record companies and processes payments from the stations. Under federal copyright law, online stations face stricter terms than their broadcast counterparts when it comes to programming. Online stations face limits of how many songs by any particular artist — or even from a single album — can be played in a given period of time. …
The suspension of WKCR’s streams appear to be one sign of confusion in the radio and streaming world since a ruling last month by the Copyright Royalty Board, a panel of federal judges who set licensing rates for Internet radio and other types of services. Some online stations have expressed concerns about the effect of the new rates on small stations. …
For more details and to sign a petition, visit SaveNetRadio 3.0.Read More
Well, not exactly. But it’s getting close, so we’ve thrown some Christmas tunes into the musical mix for good measure. Don’t worry, we won’t bombarded you with “Jingle Bells.” We’ll just throw in a holiday number every now and then for good measure.
Seasoned greetings!Read More
Well, it’s only taken about 18 months, but Gumbo Radio is now officially listed on iTunes!
Just click on your iTunes music library, then click Internet. You’ll find us listed in alphabetical order under the category Eclectic.
(Now if we could just figure out how to get onto Apple TV …)Read More
Within the next week or so, Gumbo Radio will switch from its live mode to its canned broadcast mode for about a week. This will give us time to move the operation to a new secret bunker.
Don’t worry though. You’ll still be able to listen to Gumbo Radio around the clock (but with Live365’s commercials mixed in). Once we have our entire system back up and running, we’ll flip the switch back to the live mode.
Thanks for your patience.Read More
Do yourself a favor. Go check out the incredible work Dr. Joshua Clegg Caffery has done on John and Alan Lomax’s 1934 trip to south Louisiana. You won’t be disappointed.
While you’re at it, check out Caffery’s exemplary book Traditional Music in Coastal Louisiana: The 1934 Lomax Recordings.
– See more at: http://lsupress.org/books/detail/traditional-music-in-coastal-louisiana/#sthash.AYNd4jaF.dpuf