Musicians To Radio Broadcasters: “Clearly, We’re Not Wealthy Enough”

Jun 14th, 2007 // 5 Comments

A few months ago, internet-radio stations were hit with a proposed royalty-rate hike, one that threatened to put many stations out of business; and now, it looks as though terrestrial broadcasters may soon be undergoing a financial fight of their own:

WASHINGTON — Some of the music industry’s most recognizable names are signing up for what likely will be a bruising legislative battle as they attempt to win a change in the law that would force broadcasters to pay them for airplay.

More than 80 artist ranging from Christina Aguilera to Mary Wilson and 11 industry organizations including the RIAA have scheduled an announcement for today of a new coalition that will fight for the change.

Terrestrial broadcasters traditionally have paid songwriter royalties to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC but have been exempt from performance royalties similar to those levied on digital broadcasts in recent years.

Most people in the music industry think that allowing broadcasters to escape paying a performance royalty is unfair. Broadcasters have long argued that the promotional value gained by playing music on the radio more than offsets any royalty that performers and record companies would receive.

More on this as it develops, but please, please let this press conference be jointly presented by Christina and Mary. Girlfriends know how to make complex legislative movements and rate-hike tables sing!

New bloc to fight for airplay pay [Hollywood Reporter]

  1. noamjamski

    And the band played on as the Titanic sank.

  2. mackro

    How many college radio stations could still go on by not playing ASCAP or BMI published material? That’s a lot of sifting of the music libraries to go through, but I imagine some stations have been pondering that thought.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I never thought that I would actually want to get behind ClearChannel on anything, but if they do plan to fight this, I’ll have to shamefully hold my head down and go “um yay ClearChannel fight fight…fight”

  3. binaryan

    Eh. A performance royalty exists in every other country that has widespread terrestrial radio. I’m not sure why it shouldn’t here. The whole “promotional value” argument for sparing mainstream radio is pretty moot at this point. Sure, Hot 97 helps sell a lot of T-Pain records. A whopping 171,000. Netradio, podcasts and blogs are crushing those numbers with long tail sales.

  4. MidwestProduct

    Wouldn’t this be essentially the greatest thing that ever happened to music on the radio? At least in theory, the most expensive songs royalty-wise would be the top-40 garbage that pollutes the airwaves of essentially every city. Since smaller labels and independent artists would be free to cheapen or waive entirely their royalties, there might actually be some decent music once in a while, right? Crappy stations that play crappy Christina Aguilera songs would be punished financially, while stations that don’t play those songs will be fine. Win-win, says I.

  5. Anonymous


    i would love to think you’re right, but, like roaches surviving in the shadow of a nuclear winter, i’m sure the reality will be much less desirable for real fans of music.

    call me a pessimist, but….no, that’s it. just call me a pessimist.

    i share noamjamski’s sentiment…nothing is “unsinkable”.

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