It might be just me, but it sounds like about a year ago, especially in the US, was when the price hikes for online 'radio' streaming stations was such BIG news that they were all about to be shut down.
#1. The RIAA didn't like it cause they didn't get their $$$.
#2. They lobbied to have the prices increased cause they were plain greedy, and apparently don't like people to listen to music.
#3. What's the difference to radio in your car?
#4. For me - I've had a 3G or EVDO phone capable of streaming Net Radio for years. 1xRTT or Edge coverage? Pick a lower-bitrate station. Same music.
#5. Why pay $15/mo. for Satellite Radio ala XM or Sirius when you can stream from your phone and plug into your car stereo? Sure it might cut in and out now and again, but you're not forced to pay $$$ for your music, and no radio upgrades to "HD Radio".
Especially with the advent of the iPhone, and the iPod Touch, music players with built-in WiFi, a lot of this issue goes away. I can tell you there's RARELY a time I'm either 1.) Away from my computer. 2.) Somewhere without my iPod Touch or iPhone. 3.) Somewhere I'm lacking 3G/Edge coverage on my iPhone. And if I am in a place like that, I turn on the ACTUAL CAR RADIO, or listen to some of the albums I've BOUGHT. Wow. Listen to the music you own, or to what other people are listening to. What a concept.
I think the RIAA shot themselves in the foot here, by trying to get their $$$ and forcing such a HUGE increase in royalties paid that they ended up bringing so much attention to the issue that everyone jumped on board. Whoops. How much did streaming radio stations save in advertising revenue to get listeners, when the RIAA yelling and screaming 'NO! MY MONEY!'??? Bring that kind of national attention to yourself, and folks will flock from everywhere to see what it's all about.
Downloading and owning your music is good and all - and a lot of folks have posted as such - that they want to own it. Then BUY THE CD or buy the album from iTunes. If you just want to listen to random music ala radio - stream it, what's your problem?
Plus, you can't discover new music and new artists by listening to the same shit that you OWN over and over and over. That's at least ONE thing the streaming stations provide.
That, and YOU try and find me ONE real 'radio' station that everyone can tune in to that plays the same stuff as GROOVE SALAD from Soma.fm on the regular airwaves. Then tell me it's not worth it.