Performance Rights Debate in Tennessean

Cromwell’s Bud Walters proposes joint copyright royalty pool
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Cromwell Group President Bud Walters says under the performance royalty fee legislation being debated in Congress, performers would see little of the millions of dollars terrestrial radio stations would pay. Instead, he says, half of the money raised would go to the record labels who represent those performers/writers.

“Most writers and performers know they have made bad deals in the past with record companies,” says the head of the Cromwell Group, a Nashville-based radio group composed of small to-mid-sized stations in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana.

Instead of levying another fee on radio, he argues in a letter to the Tennessean, he suggests ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and SoundExchange all be required to put the money they get from radio “into one pool, prove the share they have and distribute it in a transparent way.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., says in an opinion piece that the Performance Rights Act provides parity to artists, just as songwriters now have and that, if passed, terrestrial would pay the same type of fee that satellite and Internet radio now pay.

Tennessee Association of Broadcasters president Whit Adamson says it’s unreasonable to insist upon “parity” among delivery platforms that are so different in business model and technology.


Performance Rights Heats Up

The performance rights issue, or as NAB calls it, a “performance tax,” is getting more attention in advance of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the issue scheduled for next week.