This past Tuesday, President Obama’s administration made numerous recommendations to Congress regarding online piracy, counterfeiting, and on-air broadcasting. Among their recommendations was support for the Performance Rights Act, the highly debated legislation that would pay artists and musicians (not just publishers and song writers) when their music is played on FM and AM radio. It was less than a year ago when the Commerce Department first expressed support for the Act. This additional backing is as good of news for the RIAA and labels (who have been pushing for this legislation) as it is less than stellar for National Association of Broadcasting and radio stations (who have been strongly opposed to the Act).
Dennis Wharton, EVP of the NAB, had the following to say upon this news:
“This is hardly a new policy position from the White House. NAB remains unalterably opposed to legislation creating an onerous, jobs-killing fee on America’s hometown radio stations without offsetting provisions and benefits that recognize the unparalleled promotional value of radio airplay. NAB offered a legislative package to resolve this issue last year, which was summarily rejected by the musicFirst Coalition. Our offer still stands.”
And the long and highly debated battle between the RIAA and NAB about performance radio royalties continues. Back in August of 2010, labels and radio broadcasters appeared to have found a bargaining tool with mandated FM radio chips in cell phones and portable devices, but there’s been no update about such a mandate since. And now with the Performance Rights Act getting additional support from the White House, radio may have to pay up sooner than later. Though that doesn’t mean this drama will end any time soon.