Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., this week introduced a bill (H.R. 4789) supporting a “performance fee” paid by stations for the music they play over the air.
SoundExchange, which represents major record labels, applauded the move. The royalties would be paid to that organization, which would disburse the funds to the labels and artists.
Last month, Reps. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Gene Green, D-Texas, sponsored the Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposes any new performance fees, taxes, royalties or other charges relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a radio station for broadcasting sound recordings.
Conaway stated that Congress repeatedly has refused to implement the fee “that would disrupt the mutually beneficial relationship between local radio stations and recording industries.”
SoundExchange views the Performance Rights Act as a matter of fairness, noting that performance royalties are paid in all other forms of U.S. radio such as Webcasting and satellite radio. Broadcasters, however, say the bill is aimed at shoring up the labels’ failing business model and ignores the mutually beneficial relationship between stations and labels in the form of exposure of new music with airplay.