Radio Execs Head To D.C. To Talk Performance Royalty
August 5, 2010 at 7:11 AM (PT)
ALL ACCESS has learned that a meeting is scheduled for TOMORROW (8/6) in WASHINGTON, D.C. to update NAB RADIO BOARD executives on the status of performance tax discussions with RIAA.
NAB EVP DENNIS WHARTON would not confirm that meeting, but did tell ALL ACCESS that the "NAB remains unalterably opposed to the bill passed out of the respective Judiciary Committees last year. At the request of key leaders in Congress, NAB has engaged in discussions with RIAA and music industry representatives. The discussions have resulted in progress between the two sides, but there is no agreement. NAB will oppose any proposals that are not in the longterm best interests of our membership. Any agreement would have to be approved with the backing of the NAB Radio Board."
Three weeks ago (NET NEWS 7/16), at THE CONCLAVE in MINNEAPOLIS, BONNEVILLE Pres./CEO BRUCE REESE, who is rumored to be part of the group meeting TOMORROW, warned that regarding Congress and the performance royalty debate, "They really want to do something for the artists. They really want to pass this legislation." Praising the NAB leadership's lobbying effort, he nevertheless said that the law might be attached to a "must-pass" piece of legislation, especially by an outgoing lame-duck Congress. "I would love to cut a deal" that would trade a royalty for certainty in the amount to be paid, REESE said. "I can't tell you how badly the odds are stacked against us" on the issue, he added.
In JUNE, The GENERAL ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE conducted a study which found that the proposed Performance Rights bill, which would require radio stations to pay royalties to performers, musicians and labels might have some negative repercussions (NET NEWS 6/8). The study concluded that stations might have to reduce staff, flip to non-music formats or even go off the air entirely.
"The additional revenue from a performance right would benefit record companies, musicians and performers, and session musicians differently, but could lead to more investment in the creation of music," the report concluded. "By increasing the revenues derived from a song, the act could encourage record companies and musicians to make additional investments in music."
On the other hand, the FCC sent a letter to the GAO, demanding that it examine other possible negative consequences. "This discussion might note the potential impact on the public interest from those actions," the COMMISSION wrote. "For example, the necessity to make staff cuts would conceivably diminish the ability of a radio station to continue to provide service to its community ... This news and information programming can be critical at times of emergency, such as natural disasters, adverse weather, and other crises."
[Has your station discussed the impact of a royalty fee? Would your format be affected by this? Share your thoughts below.]