Recent Posts

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Complexities of Intellectual/Artistic Ownership: When the Song Gets Played, Who Gets Paid?

Artists hope bill will make radio stations pay - Entertainment News, Music News, Media - Variety
When the Senate Judiciary Committee convenes Aug. 4, it will take up an issue that has emotions running high, where lobbying has sunk into innuendo, personal attacks and racial politics, and where the economic future of giant industries is at stake.

No, it's not about healthcare reform.

The dispute centers on a bill that would require radio stations to pay artists when songs are played over the airwaves.

Hundreds of millions of dollars each year could be at play, so the debate over details of the bill has been fierce. But those battles pale in comparison to the PR methods used to fight for or against it.

Adding a sense of urgency to the war is the fact that the two combatants -- diskeries and radio stations -- are megabucks operations suffering from plummeting returns.

The bill has long been a dream of singers, musicians and record labels, but long opposed by broadcasters.

Proponents have pulled out the big guns, including the nearly deified music vet Tony Bennett.

Bennett performed on the Hill, proclaiming that radio stations "don't want to give up one penny." He's just one of the many stars to appear at press conferences and rallies on behalf of MusicFIRST, the coalition of musicians and performers' orgs, record labels and unions.

The NAACP passed a resolution at its annual convention on July 14 that characterized the bill as the "civil rights for musicians act," while praising the bill's chief sponsor in the House, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), and chiding his critics.

The org said the bill is about "ending the exploitation of African-American musicians and paying them a fair wage for their work."

The bill's supporters characterize it as correcting an inequity that has long existed: Radio stations pay songwriters, but not performers, when their music is played.

Powered by ScribeFire.


Post a Comment