Strong Reactions To Radio Bill

October 1, 2013

Reactions continue to arrive to the introduction of North Carolina Democrat Rep. Mel Watt’s latest bill to require radio to pay a streaming performance royalty for airing copyright covered music. How much attention the measure will get in Congress is unclear, since committees related to communications and broadcasting have postponed their meetings originally slated for this week due to the government shutdown.

NAB EVP Communications Dennis Wharton says the trade group “respectfully” opposes the “Free Market Royalty Act,” and appreciates the support of 183 lawmakers who back the “Local Radio Freedom Act,” a nonbinding resolution opposing a new performance royalty for radio.

NAB believes market-based negotiations like the recent Warner Music Group-Clear Channel agreement (which covers on-air and digital revenue in exchange for a lowered streaming music royalty fee,) “demonstrates that this issue is being addressed in the free market. This legislation would impose new costs” on radio stations “that jeopardize the future of our free, over-the-air service,” according to Wharton.

Future of Music Coalition Interim Executive Director Casey Rae countered that the recent deals do not ensure fair compensation to artists and only apply to those at the negotiating table.