Radio in America has been given a free ride for over 80 years. Songwriters get paid when their songs are played on the radio, but the Performing Artists, Musicians and Producers ARE NOT COMPENSATED from Radio in any way.
While the industry has lobbied for this MANY times over the 80 years, Radio has never been willing to negotiate, and used their tremendous lobbying power to prevent this from happening. I had my doubts about it actually happening this time as well, but then the Obama Administration actually came out in support of this yesterday. If you don’t know how rare it is for politicians to take interest in artistic areas, read Mark Twain’s autobiography to see how “the more things change, the more things just stay the same.”
But we need everyone’s support. Please sign the MUSICfirst coalition’s petition here: http://www.musicfirstcoalition.org/node/708 and then read on for other reasons this is important!Sure the big Multi-Platinum Artists and Producers aren’t hurting for money, but they are NOT the only ones who benefit. As a songwriter I get some small royalty checks every year from a few sources that add up to a couple thousand some years. Not a fortune, but it goes a LONG WAY to helping me make my bottom line.
Here are some beneficiaries if the bill gets passed.
Musicians: Right now musicians (and background singers) get a fee for recording in the studio.Â Once. More and more the unions have lost control, so that’s it. I have a friend who made almost $20,000 in Radio Performance Royalties for playing keys on a hit that went top 5 in several European countries. His original fee? Less than $1000. (European radio will not pay American artists, because the US is the ONLY country that doesn’t pay performance rights to artists…. I guess they missed that my friend is American…)
Songwriters: Many US artists are reluctant to record songs they didn’t write, or ask for “writing credit” on a song they are performing simply because it is the only way they will be paid. If artists can make money for radio play, I fully believe more artists will be interested in recording a hit… wherever it comes from. My evidence? The overseas market! Many more artists over there are willing to record songs they didn’t write.
Producers: Not every producer is getting paid $100,000 for a song. Under recording copyright, Artists and Producers split ownership of the Sound Recording Copyright. More and more smaller productions are breaking through due to the internet, and many producers have done their work for VERY little money. At least if something takes off, they can breathe, knowing they *might* make some money without a lawsuit! 🙂
Breaking Radio’s Anti-Bill Propaganda
Here’s what Radio wants you to think, and why it’s rubbish.
1. Radio says they are a promotional vehicle providing free exposure to sell albums.
Bulls%$t: Radio Stations are business that make money off advertising. Less than 20% of US Radio stations play predominantly NEW music in need of promotion. Most rely on established classics (recent or old) to attract their large audiences that advertisers are willing to pay $$$ for. Elvis, Patsy Cline, Bette Midler, Whitney Houston, Lena Horne, Rick Astley etc… are not relying on “radio promotion” for their old songs. And maybe THEY don’t NEEDÂ any more money from Radio play (All those artists are known for singing OTHER people’s songs, thus are not being paid…) But think of all the great One-Hit wonders they still play on radio. I guarantee you many if not most of those artists would welcome a little bit more money each year (Not to mention the studio musicians, etc…) Maybe the average person doesn’t see it, but anyone in the business knows that Radio HATES playing new stuff… We laugh at this argument.
2. This will force more radio to switch to *Talk Formats*
What a crock. They would now if they could compete. Talk Radio is actually the number one format! But do you think they get all those shows for free? Of course not! They pay all those syndicated programs a LOT of money to air them.
3. Radio Can’t Afford this Now.
I can’t walk into an instrument shop and say,”I NEED this piece of gear to make a living. I can’t pay for it now, but I believe I’m entitled to take it for free, because I NEED it.” This is essentially the same thing radio hasÂ said for EIGHTY YEARS. Do you want someone stealing your stuff… telling you they have a right to take it and not pay you because they can’t afford it? Radio’s been robbing us for years. Every other civilized country recognizes that the artists and musicians should be paid when someone profits from their work. The US is the only exception. Add in that recent reports for Terrestrial Radio are very positive, AND the fact that this will be phased in over three years… it is WAY past time to pass this. And there are many exemptions for small independents and non-commercial radio.
4. The Labels are Desperate and Greedy.
The US Radio AD industry is about 15 Billion Dollars. That is about twice what the recording industry is. Who’s being desperate and greedy?