Broadcasting music without payment is akin to piracy, the industry says.
A House subcommittee is expected to approve a royalty bill perhaps as early as Thursday. The measure, HR 4789, sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman, D-California, would move to the full House Judiciary Committee — legislation that the National Association of Broadcasters said would cost the industry as much as $7 billion annually.
An identical proposal, S 2500, is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rates under both proposals would be negotiated, although small and public stations would pay a flat $5,000 annually.
Let me go on the record and say that I think Clearchannel (who own over 1100 terrestrial radio stations which reach 45% of the all-important 18-49 demographic, thank you FCC; Premiere Radio Network, and until a couple of years ago, Live Nation and HOB) are a bunch of corporate drones who have single-handedly killed legendary stations like WMMS and WENZ 107.9. However, this is pure lunacy on the part of the RIAA.
Copyright and royalty laws for music are jacked up. I think anyone who knows anything about it would agree. Satellite and online radio stations pay more and different royalties than terrestrial radio. In fact, online radio stations are getting screwed in a big way under the current system, because the RIAA has been doing nothing but fighting technology for the past ten years and their goal was really to kill online streaming before it had a chance to suceed.
However, to say terrestrial radio is a form of piracy is unmitigated bullshit. First off, anyone within sniffing distance of terrestrial radio can tell you that record labels beg, borrow, steal (and bribe) to have their artists played on the air.
After decades of this, we’re supposed to believe that radio stations are suddenly thieves??
Secondly, terrestrial radio stations do pay royalties – to folks like BMI and ASCAP. Those royalties go to the songwriters; the RIAA doesn’t get any of that pie.
And that’s the real reason they’re trying to change the law. They want terrestrial radio to pay a performance royalty too; and the RIAA most certainly gets a chunk of that.
So once again, it’s not about the poor starving artists (if anyone is creating that underclass, it’s the RIAA itself. 90% of their products fail to break even). These proposed bills are about the RIAA and their greedy, publically traded, corporate profit margins.
Call or email your representative and tell ’em if they’re really interested in helping creative types, they’ll stop catering to big business, rescind some of those media ownership laws and give the online broadcasters a break.
The RIAA does NOT speak for musicians; their only interest is themselves.