Online Music Goes Silent to Weigh In

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In terms of throwing one’s weight around in the court of public opinion, it doesn’t get any better than this: Internet radio, it appears, is as big as Oprah.

Today is what the online music broadcasters have dubbed the “Day of Silence,” in which they have shut down their services to protest a hike in licensing fees that they say threatens their existence. The website for the online demonstration, SaveNetRadio.org, encourages visitors to contact their representatives in Congress in support of the “Internet Radio Equality Act” (H.R. 2060 and S. 1353),   which would nullify the rate hike.

The site also asks visitors to enter their ZIP code to get contact information for their lawmakers. That feature is powered by Capitol Advantage, a Virginia company that runs Congress.org, CapWiz, and other sites designed to facilitate online civic participation.

According to Mark West, senior vice president for Internet operations, traffic at Capital Advantage has been so high today that it had to rout all activity to its high-capacity network.

“It’s been the busiest day we’ve seen in several months,” West said, comparing it to the day that Oprah Winfrey mentioned Congress.org on her show and urged her viewers to log on.

Christine Hanson, the press secretary for Rep. Jay Inslee, a Washington State Democrat, who introduced the House version of the bill, said that even his office had received a “significant increase” in calls.

--Chris Wilson