Stop The Radio Tax!

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The Performance Rights Act (PRA) is something I’ve watchdogged ever since it was introduced on Capitol Hill. This legislation, which would add a new financial onus to the equation for radio broadcasters, will do great detriment to the radio industry if passed.

The misconception I run across often is that this is only a worry for large commercial radio groups. Nothing could be further from the truth. Small radio groups, college radio, and minority-owned radio all stand to suffer if it goes through. The effects of this legislation would cascade downwards through the industry, and at the same time would channel most of the new funds collected into the pockets of the music industry, not the artists it purports to serve.

As the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) operated website NoPerformanceTax.org puts it:

If you’re one of the 235 million people who listen to radio each week, a tax could reduce the variety of music radio stations play, and all but cut the possibility of new artists breaking onto the scene. The tax could particularly affect smaller, minority-owned stations, some of which may have to switch to a talk-only format or shut down entirely.

It also affects your community. Radio stations are major contributors to public service – generating $6 billion in public service annually, providing vital news and community information and free airtime to help local charities. If a tax were imposed, stations’ critical community service efforts could be reduced.

And, worst of all, if you’re one of the 106,000 Americans employed by local radio, your job could be in jeopardy. In these troubling economic times, the last thing local radio needs is to be hit with a tax that some analysts estimate could be $2-7 billion annually.

Our sponsors at the NAB have placed a large amount of info at your disposal on this website, including information and resources for broadcasters, stations, and people who are concerned about the deleterious effects of this effort should it pass.

Get involved! Join in on our online efforts:

  • No Performance Tax dot Org – The main website which has numerous resources ranging from video of Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo’s video about how this legislation will adversely affect Spanish language radio to radio and TV spots that can be downloaded and implemented immediately.
  • Facebook – Join the discussion and find out what you can do to combat this legislation on the fastest growing social network online.
  • Twitter– Follow No Performance Tax on Twitter (@StopRadioTax) for updates on the legislation and links to pertinent info on the subject. For example: “See why the Media Institute says a performance tax would be a ‘debacle,’ and check out our take. http://bit.ly/9BqH5E

I’ve worked in music off and on for over a decade. In my view, the downsides of this passing far outweigh the positives. Most of the money collected would immediately end up in the coffers of the music industry, doing little good for the musicians at large. It would also affect distinct barriers to new music getting airplay because from a business standpoint, it’s a safer bet to pay royalties on a known draw as opposed to an unknown.

Do a little Googling. Rarely will you find articles about the radio industry being at odds with the artists. The record labels, on the other hand, are infamous for their behavior in regards to the artists. Just ask the family of Jimi Hendrix.

Take a look at my body of work discussing the Performance Rights Act here on the Radio 2020 Blog for more info.

Image: via the NAB (Our Sponsors)

Additional Note: I will be on my yearly vacation for the next week celebrating Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl victory of the New Orleans Saints. I’ve got some articles set up to publish while I am away so there will be no break in the blogging, I just won’t have the opportunity to respond to comments or emails until the 18th. Thanks for tuning in!

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10 Responses to “Stop The Radio Tax!”

  1. Kate Barnes Says:

    If the Performance Rights Act is passed it will be detrimental just as you have said. I completely agree that the facts point to the fact that people will lose jobs, radio stations will cut community service efforts and worst of all it will cut out what you hear. As an avid radio listener and intern for Clear Channel I hate the idea of this happening to something I love and care about. Everyone should vote against this tax and make a stand!

  2. judith Says:

    this radio tax is good for nothing

    the netherland even got ride of it because there was no point for it
    people already pay for there tv channels/radio channels and internet and phone connection
    its realy weird that you have to pay twice for it
    its like selling 1 hamburger twice
    also on tv there are so many replays off old stuff its like ripping people of there money

    dont kill the music we need music specialy the oldys songs

    wissing all radio stations good luck

    gr from the netherlands we support you very muts

  3. Anne Hammond Says:

    I work On my Computer all day long and I have for many Many years and I listen to my radio All day long

    I am so sick and tired of this ignorant So called Congress Nit Picking everything we have Left Free and that we enjoy to Tax

    We are turning into a 3rd world Country and What ever happened To the Land Of the Free??? HELLO

    Shame On them For spending all of Our Tax Dollars on there Private Jets and So On

    I will fight this one to the end

  4. George Williams Says:

    It is actually not congress as such that is pushing it, just elements of congress who have mistakenly bought in to the music industry misrepresentation of the the way things work. Radio already pays royalty fees through BMI, ASCAP, etc. The labels are trying to double dip since their business model is getting battered by the iTunes era.

    Thanks for the support, now go tell your congress people and representatives!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    There’s no way, radio should have to pay taxes to play records. I refuse to support anyone who support such a tax.

  6. ninalong Says:

    please do not add a performance tax .please stop this …….nina long

  7. richard f. cates Says:

    I Think we are being taxed to death. and it’s wrong to tax our rodio stations for playing material that we want to hear on the radio and the computer that we paid good money to use for our own pleasure. I think that if the people don’t start paying attention to what is going on with this administration we are headed for a dictatorship.

  8. John Pasanen Says:

    Vote no on taxing radio stations to broadcast any where in the united states of America period this is completely wrong to do at all .

  9. Chris Durre Says:

    I listen to several talk-radio stations daily. They provide so much information….i would not want the radio stations taxed. For reasons stated so well by others…..PLEASE STOP THIS BEFORE IT CAUSES NO END OF PROBLEMS FOR OUR BELOVED STATIONS. WE MAY AS TAX PAYERS BE TAXED ON SOME OF THE LESS IMPORTANT ITEMS WE MAY PURCHASE IN THE RETAIL MARKET – WE ARE NOT SO HARMED BY IT. BUT OUR RADIO STATIONS CAN BE HURT IN VERY IMPORTANT WAYS.
    I HOPE THOSE IN POSITIONS OF POWER WILL “HEAR” US AND STOP THE PURSUANCE OF THIS “VERY BAD TAXING”.

  10. Jeannine Says:

    No! I must agree with statements so eloquently made by others, but add my own reasons. I was a child of the late 60’s. An AM radio began my love affair with music. Music touches us all. Many of our heart began beating to the rhythem of a dashboard radio. Music is not only a sound, but an emotion. How or why would anybody see fit to tax such a sacred, and American way of life?

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