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Hastings: A Negotiated Settlement Would Be Good for Radio

'Music and radio are synonymous'

Gordon Hastings has added his voice to those who suggest that conciliation with record labels is desirable.

“Good for Bruce Reese for suggesting compromise” in the performance royalty fight, Hastings writes in his blog. The well-connected president of ghhManagement knows his way around radio and around Washington; he is former president of Katz Radio and Katz Television, and he founded the Broadcasters Foundation of America.

“We cannot forget that it is artists who sing the songs!” Hastings continued. “It is in radio’s best interests to continue to encourage a partnership with a creative wellspring that is a defining element of the industry.” He thinks a resolution of the issue — “without damaging a fabulous and longstanding relationship” — would be a victory for both.

Radio would benefit, he argued, because “the considerable risk inherent in an all-or-nothing approach would be eliminated. A negotiated settlement would preempt a third party (government) from writing or having an extraordinary influence over the deal.”

And though radio might win one round on the Hill, “a negotiated permanent settlement eliminates the issue from reoccurring year after year, which, would increase the ultimate probability of an industry loss.”

Among his suggestions: “Place on the table a window of broadcast radio exclusivity for new releases. Hard to police, yes! Impossible, no. The motion picture industry does this with every new release for the hardtop theaters. … What about new music? HD and Internet radio may be the perfect platform to expose and experiment with new artists. … Why not make access to that environment part of a negotiation?”

He thinks HD Radio “could provide a new nationwide new music network or networks with new artists uploading content from all over the world, distilling and judging the product and putting only the best on the air.”

Hastings’ conclusion: “A negotiated partnership as opposed to a legislated settlement is likely in the end to be a superior financial arrangement for radio. … Some reasonable and important voices in Washington have already sent a message that both sides should ‘sit down and work out a solution.'”

Separately, attorney David Oxenford provided perspective on the question of whether a royalty could end up “tagged on to some must-pass legislation.”

McLane: Broadcasters’ Tone Shift on Performance Royalty