Performance Royalty? Radio Gets To Present Its Side This Week
June 23, 2014 at 3:56 AM (PT)
It was almost two weeks ago (NET NEWS 6/10), that "Music Licensing Under Title 17 Part One," the first of two House Judiciary Committee hearings on music licensing, got under way in WASHINGTON D.C. at the RAYBURN House Office Building.
The first part was almost entirely unfriendly to radio's position on a performance royalty, with Congressman JERROLD NADLER (NY), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, delivering an opening statement which included, "Of course, one of the most glaring inconsistencies and injustice is that our performing artists, background musicians and others rights holders of sound recordings receive absolutely no compensation when their music is played over-the-air on terrestrial -- meaning AM/FM -- radio. Congress required payment when sound recordings are transmitted digitally in 1995, but we have yet to extend this basic protection to artists when their songs are played on AM/FM radio. This is incredibly unjust. The bottom line is that terrestrial radio profits from the intellectual property of recording artists for free. I’m aware of no other instance in the U.S. where this is allowed, and it needs to be remedied. We are on a short list of countries that includes IRAN, NORTH KOREA and CHINA that do not pay performing artists when their songs are played on the radio. And when American artists’ songs are played in EUROPE, or any other place that provides a sound recording right, these countries withhold performance royalties from American artists since we refuse to pay theirs."
This week, radio gets to present its side of the argumant, with NAB Joint Board Chair CHARLES WARFIELD, SIRIUSXM VP/CFO DAVID FREAR, RADIO & MUSIC LICENSING COMMITTEE/SAGA CEO ED CHRISTIAN and PANDORA General Counsel DELIDA COSTIN in front of the committee on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24th.
NAB EVP/Communications DENNIS WHARTON said two weeks ago, “Local radio provides an unparalleled platform for record labels and recording artists to our 240 million-plus listeners every week. That exposure results in record sales of between $1.5 million and $2.4 billion annually, and has jump-started and sustained the careers of countless musicians. Currently, local radio pays $330 million a year to songwriters, and millions more to record labels and artists when we stream music. Saddling radio stations with millions of new fees would either drive music-playing radio to all-talk formats, or would force many stations to go dark.”