At least one record label isn’t too happy with the terms of a performance royalty agreement that have been floated.
Savannah Music Group and its subsidiary Savannah Records called for Congress to add an opt-out clause to allow radio stations to play the music of new and independent labels for free, while leaving intact writers’ and publishers’ royalties. That puts the company in the unusual position, for a record label, of supporting the broadcasters’ side of this debate.
In a press release, Savannah Record VP Laurie Spoon stated: “Should a performance royalty be mandated by Congress, artists and labels must have the opportunity to opt out. If not, the major record labels win, and the songwriters and artists lose.” She expressed gratitude “for the support that radio has given Savannah’s music and artists.”
Dave Gibson, president and creative head of Savannah, said in the release, “I understand the politics of the NAB wanting to get ahead of a congressional steamroller, but there is no sense in flattening all the independents and creative shops in the process.”
(The Savannah press release appeared to get ahead of things a bit in summarizing the royalty negotiations. It stated on Friday: “Apparently pressured by the threat that Congress will enact a system whereby radio stations pay record companies and artists for airplay, the National Association of Broadcasters today passed an emergency measure recommending that radio accept performance royalties.” The NAB has emphasized that its board did not act on any agreement when it met last week, and that talks are ongoing.)