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Radio stations want Congress to look into major label recording contracts
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 08 October 2007 10:37

Radio stations want Congress to look into major label recording contracts

By Nate Anderson | Published: October 07, 2007 - 11:27PM CT
ARS Techhnica

Like a sunburned, squinting stranger riding into some tumbleweed town, the National Association of Broadcasters has called out the RIAA for a high-noon showdown before Congress. The NAB this week sent a letter to Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) suggesting that Berman's committee take a closer look at how labels pay—or don't pay—their artists. It's retaliation for the RIAA's attempt to force radio broadcasters to pay more to use music on the air, but that doesn't mean it's a bad idea.

At a hearing earlier this year, the big record labels and artists like Judy Collins showed up in Washington to ask the government for money. Not directly, of course; instead, they want the government to force radio stations to pay a performance royalty for the music that they use. Webcasters, satellite radio, and other broadcasters already pay this royalty, but radio stations have never been required to do so. They do pay money to the songwriters, but the performers and labels get nothing because radio is understood to be free promotion for a band.

With CD sales tanking, the RIAA now wants radio to pay up, and Rep. Berman has come out in support of their request. The pitch, made eloquently by Collins at the earlier hearing, is that aging musicians shouldn't have to spend their twilight years touring simply to pay the bills when radio stations are still playing their songs and not paying the performers a cent. Artists deserve better compensation.... More    Comment in the Forums
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