Washington, DC (February 11, 2009)–The recording industry has welcomed bi-cameral, bi-partisan legislation to compensate music creators when their work is broadcast on terrestrial radio. The National Association of Broadcasters is urging lawmakers to oppose the “performance tax.”
The goal of the proposed Performance Rights Act, supported by members of both sides in the House and Senate, is to close what is presented as an archaic provision of US copyright law. Currently, the US, alongside a handful of countries that includes China, Iran and North Korea, does not compensate artists and musicians for the performance of their work on AM and FM radio, only the songwriters. According to legislation supporters, the situation “allows AM and FM radio stations to earn $16 billion a year in advertising revenue without compensating the artists and musicians who bring music to life and listeners’ ears to the radio dial.”
In response, NAB president and CEO David Rehr wrote: “Local radio broadcasters consider this fee a ‘performance tax’ that will not only harm your local radio stations, but will threaten new artists trying to break into the business as well as your constituents who rely on local radio.”
“Although the proponents of H.R. 848 claim this bill is about compensating artists, in actuality at least half of this fee will go directly into the pockets of the big record labels, funneling billions of dollars to companies based overseas.” Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI are internationally based.
Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO, Recording Industry Association of America, commented: “This legislation is about fairness and a level playing field, plain and simple…Every one of the competitors of FM and AM radio pays artists and labels for the use of their music. Moreover, in these economically challenging times, we cannot ignore the millions of dollars that’s left on the table when American music is played overseas.”
National Association of Broadcasters
Recording Industry Association of America