Because the US-based Music industry - ASCAP, BMI, Seasac, and SoundExchange - have reached into other countries and told them that, if an Internet radio broadcast reaches listeners in the USA, they must pay the egregious royalty rates they demand1. The alternative was to geoblock listeners in the USA so they cannot listen. TorontoCast, a Canadian Internet radio stream hosting and licensing organization decided to geo-block the USA beginning on 2019.01.12. At that point we were unable to hear our own stations and that was the last straw for us. We have closed our account with TorontoCast. Because the US-based Music Industry demands way too much money from us in licensing and royalty fees, and because I have operated these stations at a loss each and every month of their existence, it became monetarily impractical to continue. We were told that SOCAN, the Canadian counterpart to the US Performance Rights Organizations, had reciprocal agreements with the US PROs, but that didn't stop SoundExchange from demanding TorontoCast start paying fees and royalties directly to SoundExchange or geo-block the United States.
Sadly, the Music Modernization Act which replaces the DMCA has really only made things worse for Internet radio, which also means it has reduced the choices you have. Whereas we have always wanted artists to be fairly compensated for the music they grace us with, we simply cannot pay extortion-level royalties when Internet radio realistically has no revenue model. There used to be safeguards in place for Internet radio, but the music industry has, over time, worked tirelessly to eliminate them and push us all out. It would seem they have won at this point. But who actually wins, I might ask? The artists? No. They have far fewer venues on which to be heard, and the independents may never be heard now, or at a minimum find it much harder to establish a fan base. The audience? No. They now have far less choice with only the likes of iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Amazon, etc. to turn to. Those venues have little reason to welcome new artists over signed label acts, so you get to hear what they want you to hear and nothing more. Most people are blissfully ignorant to all of this anyway, and so they don't know anything changed or that they should care. The Performance Rights Organizations? No, but they will realistically only see a tiny down-tick in revenue since most of what they get comes from the aforementioned juggernaut music services anyway. The music industry views Internet radio stations like a bunch of cats, and feel it's way too hard to heard cats, so just kill them off and be left with a much more manageable handful of music juggernauts.
We will continue to monitor the situation, and if the climate for Internet radio ever improves to the point where the US-based music industry favors cooperation in the promotion of artists and music over extortion, we may resume operations. Obviously, I'm not holding my breath.
What can you do? Well, if you live in the USA, write your representatives in government and tell them you think it sucks that Internet radio has been killed off in the United States. If you live anywhere else in the world, I'm sorry, but I really don't see you have much of a voice over here.
1 It may sound like we don't want to pay royalties, but that's not true. We think it important to point out that we, and all Internet radio station owners, want artists, composers, musicians, and everyone having to do with the production of music to be fairly compensated. Just like you get paid for what you do by your employer or customers, so too should everyone in the music business expect nothing less. We believe this must come from the listening audience. It is never "free" to listen to music. If you're saying, "but wait - I listen to FM radio all the time, and I don't pay for that!", then you're only partly correct. The reality is that your listening is subsidized through the ads you must sit through every few songs. That's one way of generating the revenue it takes to pay music royalties, which ultimately, in theory anyway, pays all those who make the music. Unfortunately, ad revenue does not match fees and royanties expense. Ads hurt Internet radio listenership. When someone hears an ad on an Internet radio station, they may just tune out. Even if they stay, they are completely disinclined to donate money to the station to help it continue operations because they (incorrectly) assume that costs are being covered by revenue from the ads they are hearing. This is a completely broken business model. Artists and listeners are both hurt by it, and Internet radio stations cannot continue this way.