[opendtv] Record Labels and "Performance Tax"

  • From: dan.grimes@xxxxxxxx
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2008 15:20:49 -0700

I'm sure this is nothing new, but is the first I have heard about it.  I 
suppose, in light of recent discussion, that media ownership means an 
owner can provide the media under their own terms.  So little is done for 
mutual benefit or for the benefit of society anymore.  It seems that only 
money and pragmatism drives our industries these days.


Tuesday, July 8th, 2008
The NEVADA Broadcaster

Editorial by Adam Sandler
Reprinted from the Reno Gazette-Journal  July 8, 2008
... a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives have become 
co-sponsors in support of free over the air radio including Shelley 
Berkley and Jon Porter.
If the record labels have their way, local radio stations could face 
The Recording Industry of America, which represents the big record labels, 
has pressured Congress to introduce a "performance tax" on local radio 
stations that would require radio stations -- both big and small -- to pay 
for the right to play music on the radio. The labels claim "it is for the 
artists," yet under this proposal, the primary performing artists receive 
less than the labels' cut.
If a performance tax were imposed, local radio stations would need to find 
millions of dollars in an already strapped economy to try to cover the 
cost. Stations would be forced to take on more advertisers and devote less 
time to promoting community events, giving traffic, news and weather 
reports and playing the songs you love. Smaller stations could be forced 
to shut their doors, putting people in your community out of work. Larger 
stations would have to cut back on the local content they proudly provide. 
Local nonprofit groups would lose millions of dollars in free promotions, 
making it harder for them to raise money and help the underserved in our 
Additionally, what the record labels don't want you to know is that radio 
does compensate them with free airplay and free promotion of artist events 
-- publicity and airplay that touches 232 million listeners in the U.S. 
per week. For more than 70 years, radio has promoted music and performing 
artists at absolutely no cost to either the artist or record label. 
Additionally, radio compensates the songwriters and composers by paying 
yearly dues to the performing rights organizations (BMI, ASCAP and SESAC), 
while record labels have been largely responsible for compensating their 
artists. And radio stations do all of this promotion for free: Local radio 
stations receive no compensation from artists or the record labels.
From this, the recording industry and its artists enjoy increased 
popularity, visibility and record sales. In fact,
85 percent of listeners identify radio as the place they first discover 
new music.
Ask yourself: When was the last time a record label did something to help 
our community? My guess is you drew a blank. Yet, I bet you can think of 
many times when your local radio station supported local charities or 
raised awareness of a local issue by discussing it on-air. Indeed, radio 
has a direct impact in every American community from providing critical 
emergency and disaster information to helping you decide whether to take 
U.S. 395 or Interstate 80.
Recognizing the value of local radio, many members of Congress on both 
sides of the aisle oppose the "performance tax." Introduced to protect 
local radio, H. Con. Res 244 has more than 200 co-sponsors including 
Nevada's U.S.Rep. Shelley Berkley and U.S. Rep. Jon Porter. Its companion 
in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 82) was just introduced last month.
The record labels have refused to adapt, and now they want everyone else 
to pay. Don't let the labels dictate what happens in our community. Ask 
your Member of Congress to demand that the labels stop balancing their 
books on the back of our community.
Adam Sandler is vice president of the Nevada Broadcasters Association and 
member of the Free Radio Alliance.

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