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19 US Representatives find time to fight for radio royalties

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 05 Feb 2009 10:48 User comments (8)

19 US Representatives find time to fight for radio royalties Considering the massive amount of work before the House of Representatives to deal with one financial crisis after another you would think their days would be full. But there are a few Representatives who have found the time to support record labels in their continuing quest to squeeze performance royalties out of terrestrial radio stations.
The Performance Rights Act is sponsored by John Conyers of Michigan. Not surprisingly the 18 co-sponsors include 7 Representatives from California. The text of the bill's current incarnation hasn't been released to the public yet but assuming it's similar to last year's attempt (and the related Senate bill) it doesn't look good for radio stations.

So what's wrong with charging performance royalties to radio stations? After all internet radio providers pay them. But here's the difference. Terrestrial broadcasters have many different expenses than webcasters. They have transmitters to operate and maintain, and typically a much larger production and sales staff to pay. And of course that doesn't include administrative costs such as FCC licensing. In fact when I spoke to Tim Westergren of Pandora Internet Radio last year he told me the two already have similar royalty costs.

You may already be familiar with the ongoing dispute between internet radio and SoundExchange over webcasting royalties. Although Westergren was confident last October that a deal was imminent, so far nothing has been settled.

Perhaps most importantly, the Performance Rights Act is based primarily on claims that even the labels must not believe. They say the promotional value of radio has disappeared and radio stations are now getting unfair benefit from their hard work. The RIAA has gone so far as to say it "costs American artists tens of millions of dollars each year."

If that's true then perhaps someone from the labels can explain why they continue to send free promotional copies of new releases to the radio stations.

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8 user comments

15.2.2009 12:24

The role of broadcasting dose not change its still meant to advertise the band if publishers can not make money off producing albums then don't produce them and get in with the ticket master scam and "block" venues for touring....

25.2.2009 16:33

for some reason i find myself not caring anymore. its a never ending fight. the record industry will never stop engaging in this war until they no longer exist. how long will it take everyone to realize this?

36.2.2009 5:19

Agreed grkblood. What the public must do is support independant labels and artists that are not part of any of these trade groups. We need to create an alternate broadcast model that will only play folks that have not signed over their rights to the likes of the RIAA, ASCAP and BMI.

An internet station free of artists that are not members of the above oganizations need to pay no roaylties to them and instead, if they so choose, pay the artist directly. The RIAA, ASCAP and BMI are parastic middle men working for the interest of the big labels. There's no law saying we must consume their product. The message has to go out to music fans everywhere that the above organizations, labels that sponsor them and artists that are their members are the real enemies of free and open artistic exchange. Radio is already nearly obsolete. Time to dismantle the framework that suppresses small and taleted independant artists and labels.

46.2.2009 8:43

The is quite an idea. Do they think they will get any money when they go out of business?

56.2.2009 13:25

there should be a bill baring any politician, from taking part in any concern other than the well being of this country. id much rather see that bill than a $500 Billion dollar wasted stimulus package.

610.2.2009 7:10

DXR88, sorry that is laughable. Who would vote for that???

They only close bribery loop holes when new one have been found. Thaey are all crooks. That is why we are in such terrible shape.

710.2.2009 11:28

Originally posted by Mez:
DXR88, sorry that is laughable. Who would vote for that???

They only close bribery loop holes when new one have been found. Thaey are all crooks. That is why we are in such terrible shape.
Why its a perfect solution to the current issue, they are too concerned about everything else..there own pockets. with the stimulus we're only going to go $500 billion more into debt.

if anythings laughable its the genius that thought lets fix are debt with money, money fixes everything.

810.2.2009 14:49

The solution would work if it became law. The problem again is why would a crook stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars every year want to make a law to end that. They want to retire millionaires like the rest of them. I am sure they would rather be voted out than lose their license to steal. If they lose they just go to a different district. With their money and tricks they will get elected some here else.

It is pretty much like if I had a few million I could care less as well.

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