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MusicFirst Launches 2010 Campaign

Says it has support from artists, women, civil rights groups; NAB calls its effort ‘job-killing’

The musicFirst Coalition says it is partnering with musicians as well as civil rights, women’s rights and activist groups for a fresh lobbying campaign to influence consumers about what they call an issue of fair pay for musicians.

Up until now the group, pushing Congress to approve a performance fee for radio stations that air copyrighted music, has been dominated by artists and record labels.

The new fee would be in addition to the funds stations now pay copyright organizations. NAB calls it a job-killing bill that threatens a musician’s number one promotional vehicle, free radio airplay.

NAB has said, if passed, the fee would harm stations already struggling under the new economy. “With diminished revenues, radio stations will take less risk in exposing ‘struggling artists,’” said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton.

The musicFirst effort includes a revamped [Web site] as well as plans for “town hall” meetings, more grassroots activity and online artist-led campaigns. The coalition will include additional partner organizations such as the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, National Congress of Black Women, National Puerto Rican Coalition, National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association, Labor Heritage Foundation, A. Philip Randolph Institute, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Afro-Latino Development Alliance, League of Rural Voters, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.