musicFIRST Coalition Launches; NAB Responds
June 14, 2007 at 4:29 PM (PT)
As hinted yesterday on ALL ACCESS (NET NEWS 6/13), THE MUSICFIRST COALITION (www.musicFIRSTcoalition.org -- "FIRST" stands for "fairness in radio starting today") officially introduced themselves to the media this afternoon, making their case for performers to be compensated through a performance right when their music is broadcast on AM and FM radio. The main theme was that all other countries and media venues pay to play music, and this royality "is fair." Executive Dir. MARK KADESH said, "How these companies that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars can say they can't afford this makes no sense."
Over one hundred recording artists, including CHRISTINA AGUILERA; JIMMY BUFFETT; MARIAH CAREY; CELINE DION; THE DOORS; EARTH, WIND & FIRE; DON HENLEY; WYCLEF JEAN; TOBY KEITH; PATTI LABELLE; JOHN LEGEND; JENNIFER LOPEZ; MARTHA REEVES; THIEVERY CORPORATION; and MARY WILSON, have all signed on as founding members of MUSICFIRST.
MARTHA REEVES, of MARTHA REEVES AND THE VANDELLAS fame (now a DETROIT City Councilperson), responded to a question about radio's airplay having a value that constituted compensation and prompted listeners to go out to buy music by saying, "We're talking about music as old as 45 years, and it brings back memories to people. That doesn't mean they go out and buy it. Many people already own a copy."
“What we’re talking about here goes beyond the big-name stars; we’re talking about aspiring artists, backup singers, band members -- all the people who bring the music to life,” said HENLEY. “Radio makes millions of dollars because of our creativity, talent, and hard work. It’s time that all of us are fairly compensated.”
There have been at least four attempts in the past 20 years to institute a performance rights fee. KADESH summed up, "We'll keep trying. When people hear that U.S. radio is the last holdout, they begin to understand fairness of our position."
NAB Exec. VP DENNIS WHARTON issued the following statement today in response to the formation of the MUSICFIRST COALITION: "NAB will aggressively fight RIAA's proposed performance tax on local radio stations. Congress has long recognized that radio airplay of music generates millions of dollars in revenue for record labels and artists. Were it not for radio's free promotional airplay of music on stations all over AMERICA, most successful recording artists would still be playing in a garage."
Additionally, NAB referenced a radio commercial that aired widely in 2005 as part of an NAB campaign promoting radio. In it, JOHN LEGEND, then an up-and-coming new artist, praised and thanked a radio station in CHICAGO for giving him his big break.