Representatives on both sides of the performance royalties fight squared off in Motown this week.
WWJ(AM) reports that singers like Dionne Warwick, Martha Reeves and Mary Wilson of the Supremes attended the meeting, organized by Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan. The performers supported the legislation introduced in both houses of Congress that would have terrestrial radio pay a performance fee to artists for radio airplay.
Currently, satellite and cable radio — both subscription services — as well as Internet radio pay artists a performance royalty. Traditional AM and FM stations pay royalties to songwriters and music publishers but not performing artists. Terrestrial radio argues the artists need to ask their record labels where their money is going instead of tapping terrestrial radio for more.
Wilson told WWJ Newsradio’s Vickie Thomas she supports the legislation, “When radio plays our music, every time they play a Supremes song, most people think we are being paid, but we are not. And that’s all we are asking.”
Meanwhile, NAB said House opposition to the performance royalty legislation had grown to 214 lawmakers, just four votes shy of a majority. The increasing opposition comes weeks after the House Judiciary Committee voted to levy a performance royalty on terrestrial radio. NAB says if enacted, the legislation would direct 50 percent of the new fee to the record labels.