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.
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!