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MusicFirst Calls ‘Big Radio’ Pigs in New Ads

Meanwhile NAB says it has backing from four more House members

MusicFirst coalition launched a Web site denigrating radio broadcasters in advance of an ad campaign. It says the musicFirst radio and TV ads airing in the Washington market “will set the record straight” on its quest for terrestrial radio to pay a performance fee for airing copyrighted music.

“We can’t match the broadcasters’ unfettered use of the public airwaves for personal benefit, but we can set the record straight — billions a year in ad revenue, billions in free spectrum, yet not a penny for the artists and musicians who bring music to life that draws listeners to radio,” states the group, which is backed by the major record labels. The group says broadcasters are running ads on their own airwaves that hide the truth about the Performance Rights Act in a “fog of misinformation.”

Terrestrial broadcasters, meanwhile, say the performance fee is really double dipping, since stations already pay rights to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.

Four additional House Democrats have voiced their opposition to performance tax legislation, NAB stated.

Reps. Travis Childers, Miss., Mike McMahon, N.Y., Bill Owens, N.Y., and Mark Schauer, Mich., are the newest co-sponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act, a resolution NAB says is now supported by 256 House lawmakers and 27 senators, which opposes “any new performance fee, tax, royalty or other charge” on local stations for music aired free to listeners.