Big Changes Coming
I've got some news to share with you. In 2016, the laws in the US changed regarding the costs associated with licensing for internet broadcasters. You can read all about those changes here:
What this means to us is that to be compliant, Armitunes must pay a licensing fee based on the number songs streamed to each listener in the US. At the time of this writing, that figure is approximate $1500 USD per month at the new 2016 rates. We have already been contacted regarding compliance and risk legal action if we do not pay the licensing fees.
As a free, non-ad supported radio, it is not possible to cover the cost of licensing. This leaves a few options including geo-blocking all US-based listeners, or ceasing streaming altogether. Because listeners in the US account for at least half of the site's traffic, I have decided geo-blocking isn't a good option.
What we are left with, then, is to cease streaming. The stream will be terminated within the next 30 days. After that, the website and domain will be transferred in their entirety to Raychan, who will have the option of bootstrapping the stream with his own music library and taking over all ownership and operations of the site. For legal purposes, our existing music library will not be shared.
What this means for you is that the site and steam will be down for an unknown period of time. When the site returns under Raychan's direction, your user accounts, messages, etc. will all be preserved. Your favorites list will be intact, but the songs may no longer be available for request.
What can you do to help? Check out this petition to oppose the copyright board's decision to increase rates for low/no income webcasters:
Thank you all for being members of the Armitunes community throughout the years. I am touched and humbled that you have decided to make this place part of your digital home on the web for over a decade. I know the site will be in good hands with Raychan and hope that the friendships that have formed here will survive and thrive for years to come. It has been an honor.
- Matt 'Armitage' Demicco