They killed soma.fm! You bastards!

by Schuyler Erle

From the front page of soma.fm, formerly the hippest Internet streaming radio station:



"The final decision on webcasting rates have been published on the Library of Congress's site. To say the results are disappointing is an understatement. While the rates were effectively cut in half, that still means that to stay on the air, SomaFM will have to pay about $500 a day in fees to the RIAA. Just to expose you to new music that you wouldn't hear anywhere else. Just to help you buy more records. Do they just not get it, or is the RIAA just greedy?"



SomaFM was awesome -- they played a wide variety of eclectic stuff, largely ambient techno, trance, jungle, drum n' bass, and other kinds of nifty electronic music thoroughly ignored by mainstream broadcast radio. My personal favorite was their Secret Agent channel, which played, well, you know, secret agent music -- 60's era mood and lounge pieces, mixed with retro-tinged electronica, and interspersed, of course, with sound bites from James Bond films. Rob Flickenger enjoyed the channel so much that he even sent them a decent chunk of money.



The very worst of it is that I am now that proud owner of a Groove Armada CD that I'd never have purchased if not for having first heard them on soma.fm. How do you like them apples, Ms. Rosen?



So what does this imply for the future of Internet streaming radio? Are we going to be reduced to having Sony and Disney and AOL Time Warner et al. as the only providers of interesting content on the Internet *as well as* in broadcast TV, cable, radio, and most movie theaters? Here in Sebastopol, we've been contemplating hosting a streaming radio station on our community wireless network -- does the RIAA expect to be able to police that as well?



It's the RIAA, not SomaFM, that should be put down. It's clear their sole motivation is thinly disguised greed made increasingly frantic in the face of technology that has already made them obsolete. What a godawful dark day for the Internet.



Is this the end of indie streaming radio on the 'Net?


20 Comments

dave2
2002-06-21 15:20:15
No More Groove Salad
This is survivable for folks who can get out to clubs to hear decent music. But seriously: where else is a middle-aged suburban white guy going to connect with good techno and electronica music, with these webcasters gone? The music industry is shooting itself in the foot: I was being exposed to artists and whole new genres that I knew nothing about. Now: it's hip-hop on MTV or nothing at all, I guess. (I choose nothing.)
leachm99
2002-06-21 17:51:23
No More Groove Salad
Indiepop was my Soma favoroite. Guess Im stuck with KPIG now. That sucks.
DH_Ivory
2002-06-24 04:25:41
No More Groove Salad
So you bought a 'Groove Armada' CD?


I've bought hundreds of dollars worth since tuning into Groove Salad. Groove Armada, Lemongrass, Sasha, A Forest Mighty Black, Faithless, David Holmes..... and more....


Living in Hong Kong means that there is even less choice of music.... Canto-pop anyone? Internet Radio was a revelation to me thanks to iTunes and SomaFM. Still I'm plugged in and listening to Flaresound and DI Trance.... but I miss Groove Salad and Secret Agent.


I reckon SomaFM should just move their servers offshore..... Sealand (www.sealandgov.com) anyone?

anonymous2
2002-10-01 08:02:14
Groove Salad is *up*
See www.brianstorms.com for details
anonymous2
2003-03-22 17:26:10
SomaFM
As all my "Damn The Man" feelings kick in I think of one thing. How much longer will DigitalGunfire.com last? It is also a great source for Techno and Industrial music.


- Jeebus McChrist

anonymous2
2003-03-28 09:24:44
hi schuyler (nm)
anonymous2
2003-05-21 21:44:27
SomaFM
no they didnt you dumbass...
chck out somafm.com
anonymous2
2003-05-21 21:44:27
SomaFM
no they didnt you dumbass...
chck out somafm.com
anonymous2
2003-07-16 19:06:40
and one year has passed..
good comment but riaa suxx0rs and somafm will never die muahahaha
anonymous2
2003-07-16 19:13:54
blah
tho 1t is down right n0w and thats what made me look around the web for som@fm finding this page l0l
screw downtim3 and fuck3rzz riaa if they even ex1st anymore
muahahaha
4:15 am , waiting for somafm to go up so i can sleep with good music
KobnaBrazil
2005-09-01 16:57:41
SOMA IS GONNE MAN
What a shame this is, just now when I was getting to
enjoy the real music @ home.
I am a musician/producer part of Mangoes Reef and Electro Organic Vibes is reality for me.
So now, I'll have to play weekly to get the same vibe I was getting from SomaFm at home?
www.kobna.com


rubbatunga
2005-09-01 17:28:00
One of the worst days of my life!
I just found out about this... I thought the site was down for repairs. What can be done to re-launch SOMA?
iNDy
2005-09-01 21:14:22
One of the worst days of my life!
Take heart: http://www.di.fm/


It's not Secret Agent or Groove Salad.


Yet.

random_
2005-09-02 07:54:57
I can't believe it
Indie Pop Rocks had changed my music listening life. I recorded it and put it on my iPod, not to rip off anyone, but because the primary place I can listen to music is on my iPod and in my car (via my iPod). I listened to recorded IPR every day. I have bought more music since finding Indie Pop Rocks then at any time in my past. The loss of IPR is just plain devastating. I don't know where I'm going to turn to now for finding great music. Nothing else I have found on the web, let alone the gawd-awful radio, has been even remotely close to it. Unbelievable. Has anyone out there found anything on par with IPR? If so, please pass on the URL. We need it!
sjonke
2005-09-02 08:09:44
I will pay for Indie Pop Rocks
I confess and am ashamed to admit, that I failed to even once donate to SomaFM even though I listened to their Indie Pop Rocks on a daily basis ever since finding it. Now with the prospect of there being no IPR again, I'm more than willing to make up for it if it will bring back our beloved IPR. I can't even imagine life without it.


I had just recently been considering paying $15 a month for audible.com, but I got so much more value out of Indie Pop Rocks that I would be far more willing to put that $15 per month, perhaps even more, toward IPR. Does anyone have contact information for those involved in SomaFM and IPR in particular?

winman9000
2005-09-02 10:20:59
Winamp still streams Indi Pop Rocks
I can still get indi pop rocks via Winamp's internet radio
winman9000
2005-09-02 10:26:43
Winamp still streams Indi Pop Rocks
http://64.236.34.196:80/stream/1073
sjonke
2005-09-02 11:46:35
2005 SomaFM death may not be true - case of confusion?
Hopefully this will prove to be just a case of technical difficulties. It seems that some wily web citizen linked to this article, which is from 2002, in a discussion today on what happened to SomaFM, which at least for many of us seems to be down (both the web site and streams). Tie that in with lack of response to a recent email I sent them and... maybe we are getting our panties in a bunch for nothing. Guess we should be more careful about reading the dates on these articles. :) However, this does beg the question: whatever happened with these fees? I found in a quick search that there was a bill passed that delayed them for 6 months, but then what? Was the bill extended? How long if so? Did the RIAA agree to lower the fees to a reasonable rate?


Anyway, the most important thing is that SomaFM and IPR come back from this current down time....

zoltanb
2005-09-02 16:47:30
I'm not surprised with GREED being the underlining theme for this decade. . .
Well, it's offical then. No more GROOVE SALAD. Groove Salad introduced me to some of the greatest lounge, jazz and ambient mixes I've ever heard. Stuff like Mr. Scruff, Theivery Corp., Zero 7 and more. Just when I thought the greed infestation had stopped with California real-estate and national gas prices, it's hit internet radio. I'm so tired of corporations and now even the government trying to kill anything that isn't making fat wallets fatter. This sucks, and I'm pissed. I want to know if there's a march planned to storm down the white house. . .I'll be there. It's not just Groove Salad not being available. . . now it's personal.
astromalex
2005-12-10 17:00:42
Soma FM stills reigns supreme!
This whole story is tragic, but the good news is that Soma FM still transmits. I'm listening to it as I write and it's December, so it either was a false alarm or it was fixed somehow