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MusicFirst: radio deals undercut no-royalty message.


The non-binding House resolution highlighting opposition in Congress to any on-air royalty proposal is not surprisingly without the support of the pro-performance royalty group musicFirst Coalition.  Executive director Ted Kalo thinks record company deals by a growing number of radio groups agreeing to pay something to artists for on-air play in exchange for lower digital rates will help make their case in Congress.

So far Clear Channel, Entercom and Beasley Broadcast Group have signed deals with a handful of record labels. “When the radio broadcasters’ biggest member has already conceded that performers aren’t paid enough, this misleading rhetoric feels about as stale as a national playlist,” Kalo says.  “Tired tactics aside, they are losing the argument and they know it.”

Lawmakers already got an earful on the issue from royalty supporters earlier this month. As part of annual briefings on music industry issues, a bipartisan group of 11 U.S. lawmakers reportedly met with musicians and artist managers before the Grammys in Los Angeles.  Among lawmakers participating in the briefings was House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who plans to hold more royalty hearings this year.  A rep for The Recording Academy told Billboard that Goodlatte was “very engaged in the conversations” and left the meetings with a “better understanding of the issues facing the music community.”

Broadcasters will get some face-time in front of members of Congress when the NAB State Leadership Conference convenes March 4-6 in Washington.  Radio’s opposition to a government-mandated performance royalty is likely to be on the NAB’s list of talking points, as members focus on educating newly-elected lawmakers about industry issues.


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