Battle Royale At Conclave College During 'Royalties -- What You Need To Know' Session
June 30, 2008 at 3:18 AM (PT)
Sparks flew at the CONCLAVE COLLEGE LEARNING CONFERENCE's final event on FRIDAY (6/27) as the touchy subject of the recently approved House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property bill requiring radio stations to pay royalties to performers and record labels, (NET NEWS 6/26).
The bill, far from final approval, was hotly debated by NAB Pres. & CEO DAVID REHR, NAB RADIO BOARD Vice Chairman and COMMONWEALTH BROADCASTING CEO STEVE NEWBERRY on one side of the issue, while RIAA VP/Advocacy & Govt. Relations DARRYL FRIEDMAN and SOUNDEXCHANGE General Counsel MICHAEL HUPPE argued in favor of the billing for final markup and eventual legislative approval.
I'd rather cut my throat than legislate this thing.
Moderated by industry veteran REED BUNZEL, the four men passionately argued over whether it was a tax, or a royalty, and REHR took a hard line with the NAB and radio's position, telling a packed house, "I'd rather cut my throat than legislate this thing," following an invite from both FRIEDMAN and HUPPE to discuss the matter this week.
REHR indicated that this battle had been going on for 80 years, and that Congress was on record in the past as having rejected such legislation.
HUPPE characterized the legislation as a way of radio paying a "fair share" to artist and performers for providing all of this programming for radio, and indicated that it was similar to the royalties paid to ASCAP and BMI.
NEWBERRY, in lockstep with REHR, rejected that idea. He advocated that the airplay and exposure from radio which sparked huge sales for many years was being discounted, and he indicated that the relationship between radio and the labels and artist would forever change, because "the motivation for radio to play new music would go out the window."
FRIEDMAN and HUPPE both indicated that an arrangement for a new artists waiver could be discussed as an incentive for radio to continue to play new music. The words "reverse payola" were heard in response.
Radio To Turn Tables On Recording Artists/Labels?
This important meeting sparked a number of interesting "hallway" conversations following the event. More than one broadcaster was heard talking about a rate card to charge for playing new music, in a fully disclosed manner, in accordance with all existing FCC laws.