To J1 listeners around the world....
There was a time in the United States when radio was used to promote music. Well known disc jockeys in each major American city will "break" the new hit record and the kids would rush down to the record store to buy the latest single. There was even a time when record labels would pay DJs to play their records. This was an illegal act called "payola".
Fast forward to the late 90s. The government passes the Telecommunications Act. Companies like Clear Channel (now known as iHeart Media) is buying up radio stations across the nation and programming them nationally. Gone were many of the local DJs and with that gone is real record promotion (especially since Clear Channel also owned the largest concert promotion company). Radio was no longer seen as a source for the promotion of music.
To discover new forms of music, people took to the Internet. Internet radio stations would play music that local radio stations were not playing. They were promoting music.
The recording industry did not see it that way. They saw this as unauthorized use of their works and they have been for many years attempting to monetize these internet radio stations. Over the years, a small but vocal group of small internet webcasters have fought for the ability to continue streaming music at a reasonable rate. However, the voices of the big players in the streaming audio game such as Pandora were much louder. Because the recording industry sees more opportunity in the bigger sites, small webcasters lost the ability to have a reasonable carveout at the end of 2015. The lose of the small webcaster license was the final straw that killed the already struggling Live365.
J1 was directly impacted by the loss of Live365. In an effort to give listeners a seamless transition and keep the music playing, J1 moved to Radionomy.
Now, being threatened with legal action from Sony Music and the overall recording industry in America, Radionomy has made some substantial changes. First, they removed all streams off of TuneIn.com which only had a very minor effect on J1 since we had just established our TuneIn presence this year and most users listened through our website at j1fm.com and j1fm.tokyo. Now, in order to contain their streaming royalty liabilities, Radionomy has blocked access to various countries, most notably for us, Japan.
There have been times in the past two years where more than 50% of J1's listeners were in Japan. J1 had provided programming elements that were Japan-centric including weather reports, Tokyo area travel advisories and earthquake early warnings in both English and Japanese. Now with Japan completely blocked from hearing J1, these programming elements are no longer relevant.
We had thought about discontinuing all J1 operations. J1 is still available in the United States, Singapore and most of Europe. Pulling the plug completely would be too extreme. We had decided to keep running J1 but with some changes:
J1 HITS will no longer operate in the "semi-live" mode like it used to. It will operate more like the subchannels like XTRA, Kawaii and GOLD. The channel will be updated weekly with new music. We are currently working with Radionomy's system to master a sound that we would like to hear. Currently, the tracks playing on J1 are from 2016 and late 2015. We will eventually program J1 to put more emphasis on charting hits and new music.
At this time, there will no longer be a scheduled countdown show on the air. J1 will continue to chart music. So far, J1 and its predecessor Hardcore J have charted music for 779 weeks in a row and we have never missed a week. Charts will still be posted on J1FM.tokyo over the weekend. Once we can find a way to do the countdown show in a reasonable manner on Radionomy, we will look at bringing it back.
All other scheduled programming such as Michiasa Music and Daily Request Show will also be discontinued. All on air elements including Tokyo Travel and Weather and emergency earthquake alerts will no longer be provided.
Some Twitter playlist services may be discontinued temporarily while we find a solution.
J1 will continue to monitor for earthquakes at this time and we will continue to operate eew.j1fm.com. (We do note that we had an issue since 5/6 with all Twitter services that was completely unrelated to these changes.)
I surely wish the conditions were better but as long as we continue to tolerate the greed of Sony and the RIAA, the small webcasters and their listeners will lose out on the most.
Thank you for supporting J1 for the past 15 years. We will continue to rock this boat as long as we can!
J1 Radio/REC Networks