The US radio and music industries are set for another skirmish over the lack of performance royalties paid by traditional radio stations in that country.
This time round, the spark is the Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA) which opposes “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” for local broadcast-radio stations.
Resolutions have been introduced to back this principle in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, enthusiastically backed by radio-industry body the NAB. “Decade after decade, free radio airplay has propelled the careers of countless performing artists and generated hundreds of millions in revenue for the record labels,” said NAB boss Gordon Smith last week. “We thank lawmakers for standing in opposition to a job-killing performance royalty that threatens to destroy the economics of local radio.”
Earlier this year, Smith made the NAB’s policy on the music industry clear: “We don’t charge them for advertising, and they don’t charge us for music, as they would like to.”
Music body MusicFirst is unimpressed. “Here we go again. The NAB will dedicate months and spend millions accumulating names on a motion that falsely protects ‘local radio’ and that will never become law,” spokesperson Trevor Francis told Radio Ink. “Meanwhile, the radio marketplace continues to change for NAB’s members, and not for the better. The NAB may want to focus less on lobbying in D.C. and more on how radio can provide music fans the innovation they want in today’s digital world.”