We spoke earlier this year about the Performance Rights Act. In a nutshell, it’s legislation working its way through the House and Senate that, if passed, would pay artists and musicians when their songs get played on AM and FM radio. Right now, only the songwriters and publishers get paid, and the United States is one of the few countries that doesn’t pay the performers. Digital Music News reports that the Commerce Department has expressed “strong support” for the Act in a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy. “At the national level, establishing a public performance right in sound recordings and eliminating the exemption ofr terrestrial broadcasters follows principles of US copyright law,” the letter says in part.
Radio is losing a lot of money right now, and if this is passed, they’ll lose even more. Not surprisingly, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is vigorously protesting the Act. BUt regardless, there’s no reason this bill shouldn’t be passed. Satellite, cable, and internet radio pay artists when their music gets played. The United States finds themselves among Iran, North Korea and China as some of the few countries in the world that don’t pay artists when their music gets played. And since there’s no performance act currently, the other countries in the world that do pay artists when their music gets played don’t have to pay American acts, so that’s more money artists losing out on. Sorry radio, but I think it’s time to