Are some radio companies refusing to play music by artists who want to be paid when their music is played? That’s what a music coalition is alleging, and it’s sparked an FCC inquiry. There’s legislation in the works to pay artists when their songs are played on the radio, which musicFIRST, a coalition that includes the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), is a proponent of. Artists whose songs get played on the Internet and satellite radio get compensated, but not on radio yet, and the United States is one of the few countries that doesn’t pay artists when their music is on the radio.
In June, musicFIRST sent a petition to the FCC stating that some broadcasters are refusing to play songs by artists who support getting paid, as well as ads supporting the legislation. The petition is asking the FCC to look into whether broadcasters are “engaging in a pattern of threat and intimidation against artists to chill their speech and participation in the political process.”
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), who generally have their heads in the sand when it comes to anything involving change, are calling the petition a “distortion,” addressing not the possible artist ban, but the ads supporting the legislation. “Contrary to suggestions in the petition, broadcasters are under no obligation to carry everything that is offered or suggested to them,” NAB Executive VP Dennis Wilson said. They claim that radio is a bit enough promotional and marketing tool for artists that radio shouldn’t have to pay artists.
I’m going to side with the artists here. It’s no secret that less people are buying music, and artists need to get paid somehow. If the America is one of only a handful of countries not paying, that should be changed. Sure, radio isn’t the cash cow it used to be, and it could use all the money it can still get right now. But without artists, they wouldn’t have any music to play. Just sayin’.