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Recording Academy boss warns of ‘troublesome’ future for radio


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Well, Neil Portnow thinks the future for radio is troubled if broadcasters don’t start paying performance royalties.

But he’s tying that longstanding lobbying point to the disruption that streaming is creating for the radio industry, in an opinion column for Radio Ink.

In it, the Recording Academy CEO notes that more than 33% of mobile-phone owners are streaming music in their cars; that radio media spends have “dropped precipitously”; and that radio listening by teenagers in the US dropped by almost 50% between 2005 and 2016 according to a recent survey.

How can paying royalties help? “As radio battles the music community over this issue, it also battles digital platforms for the future audience,” wrote Portnow.

“Perhaps here is where our common interests can unite. Music creators want a healthy, competitive online marketplace. While we will fight for the terrestrial right as a matter of basic fairness, we also know the future of radio is digital (where there is a right).”

“With the performance right issue resolved, radio and music could work together to develop a digital framework that’s fair to both sides across the board. If instead the radio industry chooses to continue to deny artists payment, the chasm will widen and the future for broadcasters will look more troublesome.”

Photo by Jan Gonzo on Unsplash

Stuart Dredge

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