Music Industry Aims Ads at Royalty Foes

The music industry is pressing lawmakers to eliminate radio’s exemption from performance royalties.

In a new advertising campaign, label-backed musicFirst is targeting lawmakers who’ve signed the Local Radio Freedom Act, a nonbinding resolution opposing a radio performance royalty. According to NAB’s last count, the House resolution has 228 signatures, more than a 218 majority.

“It’s hard enough to make a living as a musician — and even harder when your own representatives in Congress won’t support your basic right to fair pay for your work,” according to the new ads, reports The Hill. The group is targeting Democrats David Price of North Carolina and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, signatories to the resolution, through social media campaigns and newspaper ads in their districts.

MusicFirst Executive Director Ted Kalo said he hopes the campaign makes lawmakers realize that their support for the Local Radio Freedom Act could impede an overhaul of the music licensing system, according to the account.

During a recent hearing on music licensing, singer/songwriter Roseanne Cash told a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee that many young songwriters are quitting the business and members of the older generation feel compelled to keep touring to make up for the squeeze in royalties. There was no agreement among witnesses on how to stem the recording business revenue slide as consumers no longer wish to purchase music, but rather rent it or stream it for free.

NAB pointed to a column by media veteran Reed Bunzel refuting the notion that local radio stations have caused a drop in music sales.


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