Local Radio Freedom Act Gains Support on Capitol Hill



The Local Radio Freedom Act (the short form) –  “Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings.”

A vitally important piece of legislation, the Local Radio Freedom Act has now gained 16 new co-sponsors on Capitol Hill, for a current grand total of 126 — 85 Republicans and 41 Democrats.

During more than ten years working with music, I have often heard bands complaining about their treatment at the hands of their labels, yet almost never did I hear anything derogatory about radio. This, to the observant, is a good initial indicator.

FMQB brings us the following quote, which does a beautiful job of summing up some of the more economically dangerous aspects of the RIAA proposed royalty structure:

Free Radio Alliance spokesperson Cathy Rought added, “All the star power in the world can’t make the record labels’ performance tax work for communities across America. The record labels’ proposal to levy a performance tax on radio would bankrupt the very stations that make them — and the artists — successful. On top of the threat it would pose to the more than 106,000 radio jobs across America, this legislation would be the death of diversity over our airwaves. Local stations would become even more unaffordable, preventing more women and minorities from entering the business and achieving the dream of ownership. The notion that radio is somehow harming property rights is silly; the artist is in essence, an employee of the label and is supposed to be paid by the label, much like many other creative fields. If the musicFIRST goal is truly to protect the artist, they should be starting with the labels’ notorious compensation issues, not radio whose airplay generates over $2 billion in annual sales for the artist.”

This is an issue that not only affects artists and broadcasters, but also has far reaching ramification in the current global recession. Can we really afford to place this many jobs and businesses in danger during times so precarious? If you think not, then I advise contacting your local representatives and let them know why they need to support the Local Radio Freedom Act!

Photo courtesy of Rhys Bennett, used under its Creative Commons license


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