Musicians Push Royalty Fight To Congress
February 25, 2009 at 5:25 AM (PT)
Musicians ranging from WILL.I.AM to EMMYLOU HARRIS and SHERYL CROW gathered for a different kind of performance on TUESDAY, pushing for legislation to require radio stations to pay royalties to musicians when the stations play their songs, reports THE TENNESSEAN. PATTI LABELLE, known for the hit "Lady Marmalade," said she was "pimped" for the nearly half-century during which she wasn't paid royalties.
"I never thought I'd be standing here asking for my money," LA BELLE said.
She made her comments in a House office building room filled with music stars, their agents, industry executives, reporters and legislative staffers looking to catch a glimpse or get an autograph.
"This is not a partisan issue; this is a fairness issue," TENNESSEE Representative MARSHA BLACKBURN said at the news conference. "They own that creation. Let's honor their good works and creativity."
On the other side of the debate is the radio industry, which has its own group called the FREE RADIO ALLIANCE. Station owners argue that radio play acts as free promotion for the musicians and that many smaller stations would be forced out of business if they had to pay royalties.
A House resolution opposing the fees is signed by 125 lawmakers.
"The notion that radio is somehow harming property rights is silly," alliance spokeswoman CATHY ROUGHT said in a statement. "The artist is in essence an employee of the label and is supposed to be paid by the label."