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RAIN 5/6: Embattled SWCast Network now offline indefinitely

Posted on: 05/06/2011


Troubled webcast service SWCast Network has shut down customers’ streams indefinitely.

This was the service that was taken offline in April after SoundExchange contacted the service’s ISP with a DMCA take-down notice. Like Live365 and other services, SWCast.net collected fees from small (mostly “hobbyist”) webcasters to handle streaming and royalty services for them. But the service was not actually paying performance royalties with those fees, according to SoundExchange, and had not since 2005. Read more from our previous coverage here.

In April, SWCast.net founder and president Randall Krause told customers he was working with SoundExchange to “resolve these allegations in a timely manner.” But now, in a statement on the service’s website (here), he says that “we are not able to accommodate any customers at this time.” That said, Krause has “every intent of bringing SWCast Network back online.” The site’s streams were not available at time of publication.

He also still claims that he his engaged in “ongoing discussions” with SoundExchange. But SoundExchange says that’s not true.

“NO progress has been made in the past weeks toward resolution of compliance,” the royalty collection group states. “SWCast still has not made any royalty payments” for 2006-2011. The royalty collection group also says today is the deadline for SWCast.net webcasters to tell SoundExchange “how they intend to proceed under the statutory license.”

Former SWCast webcasters have been migrating to Live365 (which offered them a special discount package, more info here) and other services like LoudCity (here).

Reporting on the story is Net radio industry veteran Corey Denis. “Taking money from users for the mutually agreed purpose of paying royalties, and not following through with that obligation as expected by users (ever) is not a business. It reads like a scam.”

She continues (here), “SWcast isn’t a victim, as their messaging would lead you to believe. While SWcast provided a platform for small webcasters, the company didn’t fulfill their obligation to customers, consumers or artists.”

You can also read SomaFM founder Rusty Hodge‘s take on the story here.


Former VP at classical music webcaster Beethoven.com Kevin Shively is now Classical Music Director at AOL Radio. Though educated in music, Shively managed more of the business side at Beethoven.com. He was extensively involved in the fight for sustainable Internet radio royalties in the early 2000s. He later moved to Net Radio Sales (now Katz Net Radio Sales), then spent 4-and-a-half years as Executive Director of the International Webcasting Association (an Internet radio trade association).

Shively remains VP/Services for Discover Video, and heads up his own full-service webcasting company, Shively Webcast Solutions.


Likening on-demand music to settled “agriculture” (contrasted with the “hunting and gathering” of streams and downloads), Eliot Van Buskirk’s Evolver.fm offers side-by-side comparisons of the “Big 5” subscription services. The reviews, (by his account) “emphasize the mobile experience.”

Read Evolver.fm’s reviews of MOG, Napster, Spotify, Rdio, and Rhapsody here.

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