More than 100 lawmakers signed on to a House resolution opposing the introduction of “any new performance fee, tax, royalty or other charge” on local radio stations. The resolution refers to recently introduced legislation calling for radio stations to pay a performance fee for music airplay sought by record labels, artists and musicians.
Reps. Gene Green, D-Texas and Mike Conaway, R-Texas, introduced the bipartisan Local Radio Freedom Act, unveiled Thursday at a Capitol Hill event hosted by the Free Radio Alliance. The resolution has more than twice the number of initial co-sponsors as when it was introduced last year, according to NAB.
Proponents expect an identical resolution to be introduced in the Senate.
Those supporting the performance fee, represented by the musicFirst Coalition, called H. Con. Res 49 the “NAB’s Save Our Loophole” resolution, “a last-ditch effort to save corporate radio’s loophole in copyright law,” according to Executive Director Jennifer Bendall.
She said that by not paying the fees, terrestrial over-the-air radio enjoys a competitive advantage over other music platforms. “It’s not fair, it’s not right and it will be changed.”
Broadcasters argue that unlike satellite radio and other music platforms, free music airplay is good publicity for new and existing artists and their record labels. NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said, “The RIAA’s plea for a record label bailout will put thousands of radio jobs at risk and threaten the economic viability of a recording artist’s greatest promotional asset.”