We wrote in the June 3 issue that the current, intensifying debate over a performance "right" or "tax" is evidence of a failure of leadership on both sides of the debate.
We would like to think that the leaders of the NAB and decision-makers on the Recording Industry Association of America side secretly have been in touch and are working on compromise; some on Capitol Hill have called for them to do just that, but with little obvious effect.
How about some real leadership? Let’s see NAB and RIAA/musicFirst risk the hostility of their members and agree jointly to stop issuing cute press releases about this topic for a six-month period. Ask Congress to put its bills aside for a while. Then appoint a panel, led by a neutral mediator and involving elected officials from both parties, to forge a compromise that will not only address the immediate issue of artist compensation but put a solution in place that can stand up over time and also recognize the special history of this relationship and the precarious financial situation facing broadcasters.