Cromwell Pres. Walters: 25% Of Music Stations Could Flip To Talk If Performance Royalty Enacted
May 28, 2009 at 4:22 PM (PT)
CROMWELL GROUP President BAYARD "BUD" WALTERS has made public what could be best described as passionate and stinging objections to the Performance Royalty bills now being debated in CONGRESS. He predicted that passage of the bill would instigate a chain of events that could hurt not just radio, but recording artists and songwriters alike.
After initially noting that half of the money received in the royalty bill would go to "mostly international companies," he alleged that songwriter royalties would decline because a significant number of radio stations will drop music formats for Talk. "How many will switch is unknown, but 25% (3,000+) is not an insane number," WALTERS wrote.
If there is a performer out there who does not want to be played on our radio stations, just tell us and we'll delete the song. We certainly do not want to play an artist that does not want to be heard on the radio
Calling out the older artists who have testified in CONGRESS for a performance royalty, he asked, "Who made the deal with the record company? Who has been making money all these years from the releases, re-releases, and compilations? Certainly the record company has. Why didn't they share it with these older artists? Just two years ago PORTER WAGONER and a host of NASHVILLE artists and writers testified here before the FCC that they needed more 'free' airplay of their music to sell music and more tickets to their concerts and events. PORTER certainly was a revered and respected writer/performer/artist and his comments were written by AFTRA. PORTER and AFTRA were right. Music played on the radio helps writers and artists."
Tackling the "parity issue" where satellite and Net radio pay a performance royalty, while terrestrial radio does not, WALTERS noted, "Satellite, cable, and Internet are mostly subscription services for which subscribers pay a fee to listen to the music ... Those services usually are downloadable services that can impact music sales negatively.
Free over-the-air radio does not receive a subscription fee and generally is not downloadable. This is also true of restaurants, bars, hotels, elevators, doctors' offices, malls, gift stores, etc. where no fee is collected, but music is played. If a radio station should pay a performer’s royalty, why not all of these others?"
WALTERS finished his message by empathizing with the older artists. "I am certainly sympathetic to older artists who feel they have not continued to earn from their hits of long ago ... Their record companies have prospered all these years from those older hits. Why have they not shared? It’s not the radio stations who have failed the artists and left them in poverty. Newer artists, or those with new recordings, still think it is important to be played on the free over the air radio. If there is a performer out there who does not want to be played on our radio stations, just tell us and we'll delete the song. We certainly do not want to play an artist that does not want to be heard on the radio."
Read his entire comments here.