When Radio Will Be Radio

Scorecards, here! You can't tell the players without a Performance Royalty scorecard.

The game is on a little sooner than broadcast radio execs hoped. Last Thursday the United States Copyright Office released its "Copyright and the Music Marketplace" report. Webcasters, pureplays and enthusiastic amateurs should view this as an "at last" event - as in, at last broadcasters will be paying a performance royalty fee. For stations online, it evens the playing field considerably.

This Copyright Office report is non-binding. It is carefully considered by Congress, and gives a strong clue as to what's ahead.
Click to View Report

Let's look at how it starts, on Page 2, as the second item in Heading "B." Important because of these words: "Questions of licensing parity and fair compensation are closely tied to the relative treatment of music rights and rightsholders under the law." Reread that "parity" part. It gives impact to what's next.

The Copyright Office suggestion is to "Extend the public performance right in sound recordings to terrestrial radio broadcasts."

Then comes the "BHAM" for internet radio operators: "Apart from being inequitable to rightsholders—including by curtailing the reciprocal* flow of royalties into the United States—the exemption of terrestrial radio from royalty obligations harms competing satellite and internet radio providers who must pay for the use of sound recordings." (My italics & bold.)

Radio stations online may be forced to pay onerous performance royalty fees but, at long last, the weight of payment will be a shared pain with broadcast counterparts. It will have a dramatic affect on the numbers of music competitors coming from the broadcast side of radio.

Bringing parity into this picture escorts fairness. When this issue is settled, radio, online and off, will be radio on equal footing.

* The reciprocity payments missed by U.S. artists because of this unbalanced payment of performance royalties is a huge card to play for SX. (I.E.: Adele, if played in the U.K. earns performance payments. She does not get it if her songs are played in the U.S. As payback, Madonna won't get performance royalty payments when her songs are played in the U.K.)

Tuesday February 10, 2015      eMail to a Friend

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