Radio Performance Royalty Battle Restarts On The Hill
January 19, 2009 at 12:00 PM (PT)
It may not carry the weight of the economic crisis, nevertheless parties supporting a performance royalty for terrestrial radio have restarted their lobbying efforts to get something passed. The NATIONAL JOURNAL CONGRESS DAILY reports that a coalition of groups led by MUSICFIRST briefed a House staff for reps who supported the royalty bill proposed by TEXAS reps GENE GREEN (D) and MIKE CONAWAY (R).
Similar bills sponsored by Rep. JOHN CONYERS in the House never made it to the floor last year, and a similar Senate bill sponsored by PATRICK LEAHY didn't move out of the upper chamber, either. Nevertheless, GREEN and CONAWAY plan on reintroducing their bills as soon as this week, as the RIAA feels it has new momentum "Broadcasters now stick out like a sore thumb," RIAA Chairman/CEO MITCH BAINWOL told VARIETY. "Why should the platform in the greatest position to pay not do so when PANDORA (the web radio site) is doing the right thing? That point wasn't evident 10 years ago. Webcasters, SIRIUS and XM are paying to reward the creative process, which makes radio look anomalistic."
Webcasters, Sirius and XM are paying to reward the creative process, which makes radio look anomalistic
The NAB, which last year rounded up 225 reps to co-sponsor a bill to thwart any performance royalty, promises to oppose any new bills just as vigorously as it did in the past. Yet VARIETY's PHIL GALLO contends that the loss of Alternative KDLD (INDIE 103.1)/LOS ANGELES actually strengthens the music industry's case. "The bill's opponent, NAB, is sticking with the promotional argument and contending that additional payments for music will drive a good number of local broadcasters out of business. It can be easily argued that commercial radio has become stagnant and reliant on very short lists of performers and hits. When a heralded station such as the L.A. alternative rock outlet Indie 103.1 is converted to yet another regional Spanish-language format, one has to wonder if any commercial outlet can make a name for itself as a local, independent voice with playlists based on local interests. Losing a local voice such as Indie suggests NAB's argument is diminished."
Read more about the imminent battle here.