Downloaded

While certain death for the fledgling Internet-radio industry was averted Monday, with music-industry mouthpieces and midsize webcasters cutting a deal to cut some of the onerous royalties the music business had demanded from struggling webcasters (up to $92 per listener, according to the LA Times), it's too late for many college radio stations. According to Collegiate Broadcasters Inc., 100 college Internet radio stations closed operations permanently or, in the case of UCLA's Internet-only station UCLARadio.com, for the summer because of the crushing royalties. Yet through a strange and wonderful act—thank the capricious and angry gods of radio—college webcasters in Orange County and Long Beach will be spared. KBEACH.org, Long Beach State's Net-only student station, will still be playing low-profile, non-major-label hip-hop and indie rock this semester, and KUCI.org—the only way many can access KUCI's incredible range of programming—will survive too, if narrowly. At the UC Irvine-based station, money to pay the RIAA fees will be siphoned out of sums collected by the station's annual fund-raisers. Julie Espy, the station's general manager, says that the exact amount of royalties KUCI will have to cough up is a little hard to pin down: "It depends on how many listeners you have. You have to multiply the number of listeners times the number of songs played times the number of hours that you're on air. A minimum amount set for an average of 25 listeners at any time is about $500 per year. So, if you have 25 listeners and you only stream for a week or even a day, you have to pay $500. Of course, if you have more listeners, the number goes up. There are also some fairly onerous bookkeeping requirements attached as well, far beyond what a local, college/community station has staff or equipment to comply with. Also, it's important to remember that our over-the-air copyright costs are much less than the streaming costs, even though the streaming quality is generally pretty poor; few people would want to record a streamed broadcast." Make no mistake: we think it's great that KUCI will be able to follow the law and won't be on the long list of college Internet stations crushed by fees. But wouldn't the money from their slim pocketbooks be better spent on improving the station and webcasting capabilities, so more people will be able to listen to their music programming, fall in love with the sounds they hear, and then go out to CD stores and buy what the record industry is selling? It sounds like a no-brainer—but who said the record industry had brains? (Andrew Asch)

FUN WITH BLIND ITEMS!
What shaggy-maned lead singer of that once-big band pissed a lot of people off at their recent OC show (the one where they were opening for that other once-big band) when he realized at the last minute that the gig's start time fell on a religious holiday, so he couldn't go on, though the crowd was told the reason they weren't playing was because of "an illness"? Sounds like what they really need is a decent calendar. (Rich Kane)

THAT'S NO CADAVER . . .
That's Keith Richards on the cover of the new Rolling Stone, and, as the Barnes & Noble clerk pointed out when we plopped a copy down on the counter, the man needs to fire his embalmer for doing such a lousy job. Really, if one cover shot is worth a zillion one-liners, this is it—and we found 'em aplenty on the juicy music-biz gossip site velvetrope.com. . . .

"For the love of God, man, please tell me you mocked this up in PhotoShop. Tell me this cannot be real."

"Yikes . . . just in time for Halloween."

"I love Keith, but my God, I've seen dead people that look better."

"The Chrissie Hynde-esque eyeliner adds a youthful playfulness."

"I'd be willing to bet that Elvis still looks better than this."

"Holy Tales From the Crypt, Batman . . . I think RS is trying to lure in the FANGORIA demographic."

"I think it's cute how he had his scrotum skin grafted onto his chest."

"And you know what's shocking? The man can afford some moisturizers. A little Ponds, some Nivea . . ."

"I have no idea what in the hell they were thinking. Maybe mixed up the cover pics for the new issue of Gargoyles 'R Us?"

"Well, in trying (very) hard to find a bright side, I will point out that they finally have an unclothed man on the cover. But did it have to be him? Jeez, he reminds me of the lady in There's Something About Mary."

"Richard Pryor didn't look as bad when he blew himself up freebasing!!!"

"I love this photo!!! It will frighten small children."

"More like Sagging Stone."

"Keith Richards starring in Resident Evil, Volume II."

"This looks like an ad for The Mummy: The Rock Opera."

"I can only hope to look that good when I'm 150." (RK)

 
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