The music industry, seeking to become more visible in its fight to get radio to pay a performance fee for copyrighted music, took its message to the NAB's doorstep this week.
The Radio Accountability Project — members of which include the Recording Industry Association of America, SoundExchange and the American Federation of Musicians — posed an inflatable 12-foot-high pig during a protest in front of NAB's Washington headquarters.
The stunt was timed to the launch of a new TV ad. RAP said its pig will visit the headquarters and top stations of radio corporations across the country over the next few months.
"The radio companies are being piggish by refusing to pay musicians for their work while big radio corporations make billions of dollars in profits," stated spokesman Mark Corallo. "The inflatable pig will showcase the most piggish radio broadcasters across America — like Clear Channel and Cumulus."
NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton described the five-person demonstration "a silly frat-boy stunt" that "represents a new low in a campaign of utter desperation" regarding the fate of the Performance Rights Act.
The broadcast trade association responded by providing sausage pizzas to the protestors, and suggested "they provide this food to the scores of exploited musicians who have had to sue their record label to recoup allegedly unpaid album royalties," according to Wharton, who says 256 House members and 27 senators oppose the performance rights fee.
NAB argues that the legislation primarily would benefit large record companies, not musicians, and would place a major financial burden on struggling local radio stations.