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Radio May Have To Pay To Play 407

devjj writes "Ars Technica reports that Congress is considering two bills that will remove the exemption terrestrial radio broadcasters currently enjoy that allows them to broadcast music without compensating the artists or labels for it. In the current dispensation only songwriters get paid. The National Association of Broadcasters is furious at the RIAA, which is pushing repeal of the exemptions, and has responded by agreeing that artists need better compensation — and is asking Congress to investigate modern recording contracts. "
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Radio May Have To Pay To Play

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  • by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:21AM (#21764052) Homepage Journal
    It's my property and I'll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
    You would cry too if revenue deserted you

    Nobody knows where my moolah has gone
    But total control left the same time
    Why were they streaming these songs
    Pay us or pay a big fine

    It's my property and I'll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
    You would cry too if revenue deserted you

    Then all my records keep dancing all night
    But leave me alone for a while
    'Til money's dancing in my wallet
    I've got no reason to smile

    It's my property and I'll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
    You would cry too if revenue deserted you

    NAB and the listener just walked thru the door
    Like a queen with her king
    Oh what a birthday surprise
    NAB's wearing his MP3 thing

    It's my property and I'll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
    You would cry too if revenue deserted you

    Oh-oh-oh It's my property and I'll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to, cry if I want to.....
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Um, Congress is also considering a law for compensating the RIAA for writing the lyrics to the music too. Even as much as in parody. Buck up!

      It's their Congress
      They'll do what they want to
      Do what they want to
      But they'll never do it for you...
    • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:14AM (#21764796) Journal
      ::knock knock:: :Hands smitty_one_each an envelope:
      You now owe $3,750 to Mercury Records and 1/10 of a cent to the songwriter Lesley Gore.
      You've been served.
  • by siyavash ( 677724 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:21AM (#21764054) Journal
    This is good in my humble opinion, perhaps it is time for radio to stop playing RIAA's JUNK and start playing REAL music from REAL artists and compensate them directly without the MA****... er, I mean the record companies as middle hand..
    • by vortigern00 ( 443602 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:26AM (#21764124) Journal
      And here is an example of what I always tell people about myself -- that my mind is open and I can change opinions the instant I see my old one is wrong.

      When I first read this article my only thought was "goodbye college radio"... but your point is so very true. This will shoot the 'AAs squarely in the foot. Radio stations can't afford to pay for music. Even ClearChannel etc won't pony up for this. This may just clear the way to get the forest of unwanted garbage music out of our face so we can see the few trees of good music that are out there!

      Sorry, I'll come up with a better metaphor after my coffee...

      • When I first read this article my only thought was "goodbye college radio"

        well, we have college radio stations up in canada and up here broadcasters have to pay royalties to composers for play.

        canada has an organization call 'socan []' that collects royalties from radio stations (among other places) and distributes them to artists. from socan's web page:

        "[we collect] licence fees, as set by the Copyright Board of Canada, from anyone playing or broadcasting live or recorded music."

        how those royalties ge

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by idobi ( 820896 )
          You're confusing performance royalties with copyright royalties. All radio stations, Canadian and US, pay performance royalties - about 1.7% of revenue. College stations typically pay a flat fee of $450/year. RIAA wants stations to pay, in addition to performance royalties, copyright royalties of about 7.5% of revenue - with low income stations paying $5000/year.
          • by multisync ( 218450 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:16AM (#21764814) Journal
            You've got it backwards. All stations - Terrestrial and over-the-air - pay royalties to the copyright holder of the song itself. These royalties are paid to organizations like ASCAP [] and BMI [], who then distribute the money to the songwriter. The royalties this article discusses are collected by SoundExchange [] on behalf of the copyright holder of the "performance" of the song (ie the recording the radio station plays). This copyright is generally held by the record company.

            Terrestrial stations have so far been exempt from paying the performance royalties, but it looks like that may change.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by idobi ( 820896 )
              I got it right. It's just a little confusing. ASCAP and BMI collect performance royalties, for performing the songs on the air, and use the money to pay the copyright holders. Soundexchange wants to collect copyright royalties and pay the record companies. Terrestrial stations have always paid performance royalties to ASCAP and BMI.
            • by cappadocius ( 555740 ) <cappadocius@MONE ... minus pa> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:22PM (#21765674)

              This copyright [on performances] is generally held by the record company.

              This is true for the radio single version of a song, but is not universally true. There will be some performances that are owned not by the record company but by the radio station. When an artist is on tour, drops by the local radio station to plug their album and performs an in-studio version of their song, that copyright can easily end up going to the radio station.

              What passage of this bill might mean is that such recordings owned by the radio stations would become more important. You'd end up hearing more "exclusive tracks" and I can easily see radio stations deciding to play an artist or not based on their willingness to provide them with non-RIAA owned performances. And I can easily see radio stations in different markets setting up trade deals that would give them access to each other's in-studio performances.

              At that point, I imagine the RIAA probably tries some sort of counter-shenanigans like stipulating in artists' contracts that they have to assign the copyright for all performances to their record company.

          • by kellyb9 ( 954229 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:31AM (#21764998)
            Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly... but doesn't the RIAA want people to listen to these songs on the radio so they go out and buy the cd?
            • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:16PM (#21765598) Journal
              doesn't the RIAA want people to listen to these songs on the radio so they go out and buy the cd?

              Are you kidding? Who would buy that crap after actually hearing it?
            • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:32PM (#21765820) Journal
              They want everyone to pay every time they listen to or even think of a song. Hookers and blow aren't cheap.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by gstoddart ( 321705 )

              Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly... but doesn't the RIAA want people to listen to these songs on the radio so they go out and buy the cd?

              They want to be paid every time anyone listens to their songs, and they want to be paid for every potential set of ears. Period.

              They say their revenues have been slumping (or not growing as fast as they feel it should -- I'm not really sure), so they're looking to have the rules changed to make sure they get more money from everyone all the time.

              Personally, I th

              • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @01:41PM (#21766750) Homepage
                talk show programs (just like "unscripted reality shows" [Oh please, no]) filling the air waves.

                The money train's coming to the end of the tracks boys. (No more snorting blow out of a naked hooker's navel.)

                It may suck to be us for a little while, but Mullah Omar may be getting his wish after all: "A world without music."

                The advertisers who are stuck paying for it all won't mind in the least. (Hell. Truck and beer and during a show about trucks and beer. What a winner!)

                The audiences who are stuck with listening to it all won't mind in the least.

                Look for the sale of hands-free headsets to go up so "Tucker Tom" can talk back to the radio because they'll have made room to the "Trucker Tom"s of the world.

                The price we're stuck with for the **AAs is about to come crashing down because the broadcasters don't have to broadcast music.

                Once the broadcasters are on the program, the audiences will realize that instead of wanting them just for their ears and their wallets, the broadcasters will want them for what the audience can contribute.

                But the price structure will still be in place, like a bottle of foul tasting hangover remedy, to remind us all of the period in time when billions of pennies were siphoned from all of our pockets and drained into the vast bulging pockets of a very few.

                We'll just have to call the music by some other name. (Its happened before, English didn't exist except as utterances spoken by Shakespeare and 'groked' by the audiences to his plays.)

                No to sound apocalyptic, but its all coming to an end because its all going 'round again.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by flitty ( 981864 )
            What about a compromise? Why must it be all or nothing? How about this:

            Drop the yearly fee from say $5,000 down to $2,500. New artists/indie artists get played for free, since the radio doesn't want to pay for a band that could flop when they are expected to suceed (Like Zwan, or Flyleaf, or Paramore, etc). Then any band that goes platinum on a single record (or 750,000 of 2 albums, or some scale like that), then you can charge $.05 for each play. That builds-in a $2,500 allowance, or about 50,000 p
            • Hell no. There already is a compromise. Free music for free promotion. At least in college radio, the DJ's (I was one til I graduated) make a decent effort to tell listeners the artists, if not the songs, played. I recall having people call in and ask "Who is this on right now?". Whether they planned to pirate or purchase the song or album is a different discussion, but the point is that these records are getting promoted for free. RIAA is trying to double dip, and I say give 'em the one finger salute
        • well, we have college radio stations up in canada and up here broadcasters have to pay royalties to composers for play.

          In the US I think the college/non-profit stations also pay the ASCAP [] or BMI [] but at a lower rate than the commercial stations [].

          I am assuming that SOCAN, ASCAP, and BMI don't have any connection with the RIAA. So now the RIAA wants a cut.

          With personal mp3 players and streaming network does broadcast radio even have a future? At one time AM radio was _the_ method of listening to music. Today AM is mostly talk/news with FM being the music provider. I can see FM going to the talk/news format in the near future

    • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:33AM (#21764212) Journal

      perhaps it is time for radio to stop playing RIAA's JUNK

      Ya know, I hear this theme every single time there is a story related to the recording industry/file sharing/copyright/etc. RIAA music sucks! It's all pop crap! Listen to indie artists!

      Not all RIAA music is Justin Timberlake-equese crap. I happen to mostly listen to modern/hard rock. Quite a few of the bands that I like (Nickelback) are signed to RIAA members. In fact I'm hard pressed to think of a genre of music that doesn't have at least one or two prominent bands/artists signed to RIAA members.

      Point being that it's kind of stupid to say that all RIAA music sucks just because we find their business practices abhorrent and unethical. I do my best to avoid giving RIAA money (I never buy CDs or directly pay for music) but they doubtless still make some off me (Pandora pays them royalties). I hope that more artists follow a direct to the customer model (Radiohead is giving it a try) and I think that overtime the big labels will become less relevant. In the meantime though I'm not going to avoid music that I like.

      • by Kamots ( 321174 )
        "I'm hard pressed to think of a genre of music that doesn't have at least one or two prominent bands/artists signed to RIAA members."

        I haven't run across a single group doing Celtic music that's signed to a major label...

        Although my tastes even in this niche genre seem to be rather narrow, so who knows, maybe some of the more mainstream groups have XD
      • by The Yuckinator ( 898499 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:44AM (#21764366)
        Sorry, but artists just like NICKLEBACK are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
        • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) *

          Sorry, but artists just like NICKLEBACK are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

          Well, you are assuming that any of the artists currently signed to a RIAA label have a choice in the matter. Aren't most of those contracts long term? I recall reading that Radiohead had wanted to try direct sales for awhile but had to wait until their recording deal expired.

          And in any case I don't see how that disproves my statement that not all RIAA music sucks and that avoiding it entirely probably isn't an option for most music lovers.

      • by qortra ( 591818 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:50AM (#21764464)
        I think you're right that RIAA endorsed labels do have many respectable bands signed, unfortunately. However - and I don't mean to insult your taste here - You should be aware that Nickelback is almost certainly the kind of [RIAA crap] band that the grandparent was talking about. Many people regard them as total sellouts and possessive to no actual talent or creativity, at least in the circles in which I run. There was the Digg story a while back that pointed to this interesting site: evidence of similarities between Nickelback songs []. Regardless of whether you like them or not, they are a hit generator, which is exactly the kind of thing that they play on pop/rock radio. Anyway keep up the good analysis; just use better examples like Radiohead (which you also used). They are distributing In Rainbows under a label associated with the RIAA according to RIAA Radar [].
        • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @04:50PM (#21769942) Homepage Journal
          Many people regard them as total sellouts and possessive to no actual talent or creativity... they are a hit generator, which is exactly the kind of thing that they play on pop/rock radio

          Someday, there will be a thread about the RIAA without all this elitist bullshit. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH POP? I like meatloaf, bubblegum, McDonald's hamburgers, pizza, Mountain Dew, and pop music. Music is not the center of my life, nor is it the apex of the arts. It's enjoyable noise that makes my commute more pleasant. You don't like pop? Fine. The rest of the world does. Not because it's what's been forced down their throats, but because they didn't study enough to learn that they're not supposed to like it--whatever the fuck that means.

          Go find a classical music snob and ask him what he thinks about the music you like. ("Radiohead? HA!") While you're at it, ask a chef what he thinks of your dinner selection, a car enthusiast what he thinks of your ride, and the unwashed masses of Slashdot about your operating environment and text editor of choice. Maybe send these folks [] a picture of what you're wearing right now. There is no dispute concerning taste. [] (And I refer to the Latin form of that phrase not because I'm a language snob but to make the point that this idea has been around for a long, long time.) And while you're out gathering all these opinions (as if they matter), I highly recommend hitting a bookstore (NOT a video store) and checking out High Fidelity. []

          Note that this doesn't mean I like the RIAA's tactics, but that's unrelated to what they happen to sell. They could sell bottled water, or own baseball teams, or make operating systems and office suites--they'd behave the same way and they'd still be assholes for doing it.

          Ask yourself this: pick any band you like. Imagine they get picked up by the RIAA. Does that make their music bad? Imagine they become unexpectedly, insanely popular and spawn a whole new world of music, Sprite ads, flannel-based fashion, and extreme sports. [] Does that make their music bad?

          If your reflex is to tell me "Nirvana really sucked, Pearl Jam and Soundagarden were the real geniuses" then you're missing my point--ignore the band I chose as an example. Just imagine any band you like in their place.

          PS: I'm not picking on you in particular. I could have replied to any of a dozen posts in this thread.
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:52AM (#21764502)

        the bands that I like (Nickelback)

        I hate you.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by sm62704 ( 957197 )

          the bands that I like (Nickelback)
          I hate you
          I'd add you to my "friends" list but slashdot says I am alone in the world.
      • by The Ultimate Fartkno ( 756456 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:55AM (#21764562)
        > Not all RIAA music is Justin Timberlake-equese crap.


        All popular music is worthless. If anyone with a clean shirt and a decent haircut has heard of a band, then they're over-processed sellout pop shit for teenagers. It's a scientifically proven fact that the worth of a band is inversely proportional to the number of records they've sold. That's why The Beatles are the worst band in history and quality music peaked when G.G. Allin shoved a Sennheiser up his ass after a baked bean dinner.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        People who like Nickelback are not qualified to talk about good music.
        You are part of the problem. Good day.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:21AM (#21764884)
        Worst. Example. Ever.
      • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:51AM (#21765242) Journal
        Not all RIAA music is Justin Timberlake-equese crap. I happen to mostly listen to modern/hard rock. Quite a few of the bands that I like (Nickelback) are signed to RIAA members.

        Hey, has anyone mentioned that Nickleback sucks? No? Well then, FYI, Nickleback sucks.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by apt142 ( 574425 )
          How did this get modded up? Nickleback sucks is insightful? I'm not sure if I agree with whether they are a good band or not, but a guy (or gal) is entitled to their opinion.

          Secondly, Nickleback is distributed under a RIAA label. The problem that I think this community has with this is not that Nickleback (or Justin T or whomever) sucks or not, but that these bands get propped up artificially. They get publicity, promotion and notoriety that they wouldn't have if they were attempting to make it on me
      • by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:56AM (#21765310) Homepage
        Point being that it's kind of stupid to say that all RIAA music sucks just because we find their business practices abhorrent and unethical.

        Nobody asserts that the RIAA music sucks because their business practices are abhorrent/repugnant/unethical. Instead, the general assertion is that

        • (a) the fact that the majority of RIAA music sucks, and
        • (b) the fact that many find the RIAA's biz practices repellent
        are not causal of each other in either direction, but are both symptomatic of (i.e. caused by)
        • (c) The RIAA's biz practices are emergent from and driven by blind greed, the soulessness of which is -- functionally speaking -- a terrible fit for the goal of producing artistic works of value, due to some of the intrinsic properties of artistry itself
    • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:36AM (#21764238)
      We should compensate artists, but there is a problem with that: when the artist starts getting big, somebody has to step in and help, and they have to get paid. The existence of a record company is understandable; what is not understandable is a record company making more money than the artist they are publishing. Of course, that can all change with the existence of the Internet, CD burners, and digital music players, since distribution does not have to cost millions of dollars anymore. Unfortunately, as with so many cases, trying to sweep away a large, established industry that makes their money from out-of-date technology ("technology" in the economic sense), is almost impossible.

      With all our modern technology, though, musicians could make money with only one or two guys helping them with distribution, even worldwide distribution, and take home a much larger percentage of the profit. As long as a quiet place to record the music can be located, even someone with almost no financial backing could potentially sell a lot of music. If only there weren't people fighting such ideas...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by innerweb ( 721995 )

        when the artist starts getting big, somebody has to step in and help, and they have to get paid.

        How about when the artists start getting big, they have to pay somebody else. Then the money flows from the artist to the support (distribution, marketing, etc) and the artist gets paid if there is any left over from an employer's standpoint. This will actually help keep things much more honest, and force artists to use the system that works (for distribution) instead of the broken ones.

        This arrangement w

    • by StarvingSE ( 875139 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:42AM (#21764340)
      Does it not seem like the RIAA is shooting themselves in the foot with this? I always thought one of the main points of playing tunes on the radio was advertising for the artists, enticing people to buy the whole album.

      If people stop hearing new songs on the radio, then the RIAA will really see a dip in CD sales. This is just more proof that the RIAA is way out of touch with how the market works.
    • by BenEnglishAtHome ( 449670 ) * on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:49AM (#21764454)
      ...I read TFA. It says the payments are to be in the form of a flat fee, per station, per year. That means that if a radio station wants to be able to ever play any RIAA-artist music, even just once a year, they have to pay the same fee as a station that plays the stuff all the time. Given that circumstance, there's no special motivation to seek out non-RIAA artists.

      Of course, the article is short. The actual text of the bill may include a pay-per-play option that would encourage stations to drop most RIAA-artist music while still retaining the ability to play a bit of it, on occasion. I don't know because I haven't read the bill so, as always, the devil's in the details.

      Somehow, I doubt an RIAA-backed bill would include a sensible measure like this, though. Even they aren't stupid enough to shoot themselves in the foot like that. Are they?

      Anybody got a link to the actual bill text?
    • Yes, but not in the way you think.

      They'll start charging more per-play for the top 40 stuff because they can.
      That top 40 stuff will loose air time for the cheaper stuff
      The cheaper stuff, with more air time, will become more popular, raising it's price to play...

      Over all, I think this will ad variety to music played on the radio, as the companies are force, due to expenses, to play more obscure music.
    • The problem is that once your bands start getting played on the radio they'll suddenly be mainstream and you won't be allowed to like them anymore. It's tough being hip.
    • by Sciros ( 986030 )
      Oh good grief, are you joking or do you seriously think that musicians who aren't contracted with companies represented by the RIAA are actually better musicians who write better music? Because, well, that's rubbish. RIAA might be pretty freaking evil but don't confuse them with the songwriters and performers that the RIAA hounds people for listening to.

      Even if there were a ton of indie bands as good as bands with labels represented by RIAA (Muse, U2, Def Leppard, etc.), which there aren't, what you said wo
      • by AoT ( 107216 )
        I'm sorry, but yes there are bands as good as the three you mention who are on indie labels. Certainly there are indie bands that are better than the three you list. I'd never heard Muse before so I went and had a listen. They sound like about a hundred other bands I've heard live, but with higher production values. Most people don't understand that this is the major difference between the indies and and the majors, production costs. And honestly, I can do without the overproduced crap that is the vast
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:21AM (#21764058)
    Finally, we have someone with a little actual power fighting the RIAA. Sadly, the RIAA will probably just back down in the end. But it would be nice if the broadcasters used this case to encourage Congress to take a good hard look at the heavy-handed tactics used by the RIAA in general in recent years.

    Sadly, this is a no-win case in Congress either way. With Republicans in the hands of big business and Democrats in the hands of Hollywood, the possibility of anyone looking out for the consumer is pretty much nil. Calls for reform usually only end up with even more onerous legislation [].

    • Agreed. Nothing like having Clear Channel and Newscorp on you side of an issue.

    • by IPFreely ( 47576 )

      Calls for reform usually only end up with even more onerous legislation.

      Calls for reform usually take the form of:

      1. I should be allowed to abuse and take adavantage of others.
      2. Others should not be allowed to abuse or take advantage of me.

      The only thing that changes is who "I" and "me" refer to. Of course, that can change the type of reform quite a bit. Ultimately, the one with the money gets their reform. If we get rid of money as a factor, then the "new currency" would be something else I don't have. I

  • if they let us download the music for free, and take their income from somewhere else.
  • by SengirV ( 203400 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:23AM (#21764082)
    I thought I've seen it by now with the music industry. I realize I am not the target audience for them anymore because I'm an old fart, but I can't imagine where potential buyers are going to hear music they want to buy. MTV doesn't play videos, they'll come after you if you have the music on Myspace, etc... This is turning into pure comedy gold. Glad I have my set list of music I'm working at filling out, because I have no idea where I'd even begin to look to listen to anything new if this goes through.
    • by Average ( 648 )
      I know one place to hear new music. Meatspace. In my genres of interest (folk, bluegrass, celtic) we have lots of festivals, large and small. You either come for one act or just to meet up with friends and end up listening to (and buying directly from) a dozen independent artists. There are festivals in rock and country, too, though typically a whole lot more expensive and commercial. Besides festivals, we also have concert series. Lots of folkies get in the habit of attending every house concert in
  • by Nigel_Powers ( 880000 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:24AM (#21764090)
    Has the entire industry gone insane? Maybe it's a generational thing, but with today's one-hit wonders, there's very little in the current marketplace that I'm interested in buying. The ONLY advertisement the industry can count on is radio air-play. If broadcasters are charged, then we'll be forced to listen to more adverts, which in turn will prompt me to discontinue radio as an entertainment medium.

  • they [] will never "get it", will they?
  • You knew eventually these bastards would get so greedy that they'd start devouring their own tail.

    Sad that we couldn't have had clear-thinking political leadership that weren't whores to special interests, to kill it as it should have been killed.

    But as long as they end up attacking themselves out of existence, I guess I shouldn't complain too much.
  • One of the most important pieces of cinematic work in the past 100 years: "We [the record labels] have to do something to protect our phoney balogne jobs!"
  • OK now I feel guilty railing against the RIAA's war against internet radio and P2P, always pointing out that they're like radio only the RIAA can't control them, and that all you have to do to get all the free top 40 MP3s you want is plug your headphone jack into the radio and sample.

    But then again perhaps this will herald the advent of "indie music" (i.e., anything not produced by an RIAA label) on the radio.

    Record labels or Clear Channel and their ilk, who to root against? A pox on both their houses.

    • That is exactly what I was thinking, that this will actually open up radio to a broader number of musicians. Not every musician 'plays the game' and while the indie choices are certainly a mixed bag, that is the job of radio: to seperate the wheat from the chaf and play what is the best (via the opinions of their listeners).

      Go head and tax the crap out of radio. The music industry is falling apart fast, and anything that hastens the fall is a good thing.
  • If only (Score:4, Insightful)

    by navygeek ( 1044768 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:28AM (#21764160)
    A small part of me wants RIAA to succeed in this - heresy I know. The notion is that if they win, terrestrial radio broadcasters will all but stop putting the mainstream music on the air and cater more towards local or indie artists, since they would be most likely to trade profit for exposure. Not only would this give those artists the chance they could desperately be wanting, but in a perfect world, would force the studios and labels to see 'the error of their ways'. It's a pipedream, but as most dreams are, it's a happy one.
    • Interesting idea, but I expect clear channel would probably just shift most or all of their radio stations to syndicated talk radio. Because you and I should both know that the RIAA will sue any station that plays any kind of contemporary music and doesn't pay them, on the basis that it's their duty to ensure that all artists get paid for their music, even the ones who haven't signed with them.

      I think they think this is cunning, they see declining CD sales, and think they can squeeze radio stations to make
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      No. They wouldn't. This would be a HORRIBLE thing for indie and local acts. If radio stations are required to pay a flat fee to SoundExchange (*), then they will make certain that all music airtime is from artists covered by their payment. Signed to an indie label? Unsigned local act? Sorry - you're not worth the airtime that we're required to pay for. This would be outrageously BAD for independent and local acts, imho.

      * "The current draft sets up a scheme where commercial broadcasters pay a flat yearly f
  • when the record labels paid the radio stations to play their stuff?
    • by Qzukk ( 229616 )
      when the record labels paid the radio stations to play their stuff?

      They want a refund.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smchris ( 464899 )
      No kidding. How the scales have shifted. My favorite quotes (paraphrasing from memory):

      Harry Shearer eulogizing on the "genius" of the departed Sonny Bono (a promoter as well as a performer) after his skiing into a tree: "How much 'genius' does it take to meet on Monday morning to decide how to spread the payola around?"

      Randi Rhodes: "Being a disk jockey, you know the _really_ cool promos -- one ones that came with the little packet of cocaine."

    • by bkr1_2k ( 237627 )
      They are alive and well, they're just not paying in straight cash any more. The only reason for this is to keep people like us from saying "you can't charge internet radio because you don't charge terrestrial radio stations". This is actually very good for us in the long run, because for once the consumer will actually win because radio stations will change their format and start playing local artists again. It will be like having 20 college radio stations in every town. I can't think of a better way to
  • by daemonenwind ( 178848 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:41AM (#21764322)
    Payola still exists today; it is the practice of recording companies paying radio stations under the table to play their music. Rather than paying radio stations directly, they just funnel it through advisory companies. Ever wonder why Ashlee Simpson's music didn't disappear from the radio after her SNL lip-synching exposure? The RIAA invested enough in her that they needed to reinforce her career with payola. Otherwise, she would have fallen off the radio like Milli Vanilli.

    See The New Yorker [] for more information.

    All the RIAA is going to do is find a way to pay the radio stations what they pay in royalties, and then charge that cost back to the artists via some "promotional fee" or other such garbage.

    The only solution to getting artists paid is the death of the RIAA and its component companies.

  • If this passes, we're going to get a LOT more crappy talk-radio.
  • As others have said this is the RIAA killing itself in a mad dash to grab money. It's like Congress raising taxes during a recession. You suffer, not us. If this passes (and I doubt it will) every music station should have a day of reckoning. A day of no music and nothing but call=ins to discuss this with their listeners. We're simply not going to pay this and not going to placate an industry we helped create. The RIAA will lose even more money and continue to blame piracy.

  • Finally... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bkr1_2k ( 237627 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:46AM (#21764404)
    Honestly, I hope this passes. If it does, it will be the end of music radio as we know it and finally the record companies will understand they've slit their own throats. Clear Channel and the like won't like the music industry cutting so heavily into their profits and they'll do whatever they can to defeat this. Two heads of the same monster fighting can't be that bad, right?
  • So, I guess now most slogans will be "30 minutes of solid comercials". Or all stations will become talk / news.
  • by garylian ( 870843 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:48AM (#21764434)
    "RIAA killed the radio star..."

    Coming soon to a radio station near you! Oh, wait...
  • Business as usual (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Garrick68 ( 1165999 )
    I've read a few comments here stating if this comes to pass how radio stations will start playing indie content. I don't think that will happen. Radio will continue as it was the only difference being the cost of doing business will have gone up. The price of advertising on radio will go up and in some small way that cost will trickle down to the average consumer.
  • by PHAEDRU5 ( 213667 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:53AM (#21764514) Homepage
    Once you get satellite radio, you never go back.

    I think the bigger story here is how terrestrial radio broadcasters utterly squandered a franchise.
  • by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @10:55AM (#21764560)
    Great. So now instead of 25 minutes of commercials every hour, we'll get 45 minutes of commercials every hour. And all radio stations will switch to Pop/Country format, because those are the only profitable segments to advertise in. Stupid artists complaining about not being rich enough... If these idiots couldn't figure out how to live the rest of their lives in relative comfort after ONE radio hit, then they really don't deserve any more money. I know the guys in a band that had ONE hit, and all three of them can live in BIG houses with NICE cars and stuff for the rest of their lives. They don't care to be compensated 20 years from now if somebody plays their song on an "oldies" station, because they aren't greedy SOB's like most of the industry.
  • I gave up listening to music terrestrial radio a while ago, the white knuckle payola rotation of pop-tart based music sicken me... Have iPod, will travel...
    • I also got sick of the payola rotation of broadcast radio and bought a car with a CD player that plays mp3 CDs. I can fit 150 songs on a single CD. I have CDs with classic rock, jazz, funk, etc whatever I am in the mood for. Random play through 150 songs is like having your personal radio. It is sooooooo liberating and I don't have to listen to the garbage that the RIAA labels are pumping out these days.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    First they went after Napster
    But I did not care, as I never liked Napster

    Then they went after Kaazaa
    But I did not care, as I did not like Kaazaa either

    Then they went after the torrents
    But I did not care, as I only use torrents for free software

    Then they went after radio
    But I did not care, as I never listen to radio anyway

    Then they came after me for singing while in the shower
    And there was nobody else to care, as music had been exterminated from Earth
  • by night_flyer ( 453866 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:05AM (#21764694) Homepage
    was to advertise musicians songs so they would sell albums...
  • RIAA is very shrewd. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:08AM (#21764730) Journal
    This proposal does many things which are good for them

    * It's a strike against attempts to relieve webcasters of RIAA payment.
    * If it is enacted, the RIAA (SoundSource) ends up collecting all the royalties
    * Which means they can screw non-members out, furthering their stranglehold.
    * They'll still pay for radio pay, it's just that part of the payment will be an exemption
        from royalties, reducing their direct costs.
    * Which will further increase the cost of non-RIAA music compared to RIAA music
    * Particularly since the exempt music will still be counted in whatever formula they use to
        distribute collected royalties, thus screwing non-RIAA artists more.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrWho520 ( 655973 )
      That is if it works out for them. The NAB may have turned this strategy directly against the RIAA.
      In a gutsy move, the NAB agrees. Artists do deserve better compensation, and so the NAB respectfully suggests that Congress examine the notorious world of major label contracts. Should the committee not know where to begin, NAB President David Rehr offers seven helpful suggestions.
      "Over the years, how much did the various record labels benefit financially from the sales of the performer witnesses at the Ju
  • Boy...if P2P users weren't enough, those pesky radio broadcasters are letting people listen to music for free!

    I was willing to give the RIAA the benefit of the doubt about the copyright lawsuits, but to me this situation lends itself to an industry that is scared stupid about its future. What I don't think they understand is that radio is a semi-safe way to get people exposed to music. If they charge radio stations to play, that means radio stations either dry up or have to get more ad revenue to pay for
  • Fuck 'em right in the ass. With a red-hot poker. With spikes.

    Their business model is obsolete and falling apart, so now they're trying to sleaze their way into more revenue any way they can. Last week they decided that, legal precedent and their own claims notwithstanding, that people don't have the right to backup their CDs after all []. Now they're trying to shake down radio stations that have been bringing them a constant flow of revenue for decades.

    Screw these bastards. We--meaning musicians, music listene
  • this is wonderful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:27AM (#21764940) Homepage Journal
    it shows the extent that the old power structure is eroding under the stress of the influence of the web on music

    the eventual nirvana, of course, is completely free digital music

    artists get paid for concerts, and advertising deals, no more. and this represents no decrease in filthy lucre for the artists, since in today's paradigm they don't get that much for recordings anyway: the music cartels screw them for pennies

    the internet simply represents where people find new bands (rather than the radio, which is controlled, the internet is free), and also represents where they will get their free recordings, which artists will distribute themselves

    the music companies?

    sorry, no room for them in such a world

    as if this were somehow a bad thing, in any way

    you do not cry for the jobs of chimney sweeps, horseshoe blacksmiths, and cabin boys that progress has rendered obsolete

    you certainly don't have to cry for the historical ireelevancy and extinction of music conglomerates

    like any dying dinosaur, they flail about like a great horrible wounded beast, lashing out at everyone and everything they can

    lay low, wait, and in due time their coffers will be dry, and they will dead, and not threaten our culture any more with their insane need to preserve a defunct business model based on distributing CDs and tapes, in a world of tcp/ip
  • None of this smells right. Initially I thought, "Awesome, this will finally get the cartel chains off of radio". After sitting on it for a while I realized that this can only lead to one outcome, the (ultimate) death of independent radio.

    We automatically assume that Clear Channel will fight this to the ground and it goes without saying that they certainly won't have any positive PR on it and the only thing we will hear are grumbles about Big Government.

    Instead Clear Channel will go into a licensing agreemen
  • old media dead (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:31AM (#21765000) Homepage Journal
    Honestly, old media is dead. This is why it matters little if the foxie nazis own the WSJ, or if every commercial radio station is owned by a few large corps. Local news can be had through, god help us, bloggers. Music can be downloaded or rented or whatever. And television, well the writers strike tells all. Back in the late 80's when the writers went on strike, everyone cared. All the shows at the time were the center of the universe for many people, and the viewers were furious. it was in the major newspapers every day. No new episodes of Moonlighting. No Bruce Willis. No Cybill Shephard. Now, there are no talks, and the biggest news is that Letterman is going to cross the picket line. People just don't depend on the old media as they used to, or if they do it Jackass type unscripted shows where we see exactly what a prostitute will do for the chance to win money.

    So does it matter that radio will have to pay? Not to the listener. The reason is that old media exists to provide filler content between ads. The filler content sole purpose is to attract the consumer. So, sports are ideal as it soap operas for boys watch, and it is usually watched live. Radio is ideal because most people have radios in their car where the people are a captive audience, and radio provides a unique ability to meet local markets. Newspaper have a unique ability and infrastructure to develop, design, print, and deliver ad campaigns. The sophisticated abilities of old media just do not yet exist on the internet.

    The danger with the pay to play is that will increase costs so that advertising cannot support the media. This is no danger to most consumers. If local radio commercial fails, it just means that those who want that kind radio will have to pay for satellite service. This is likely the end game that many are hoping for, as satellite radio can probably bear the payments more easily. This means that many frequencies will be be free to transmit idie content from small radio stations. Certainly no one here thinks that is a bad thing.

  • Perhaps the truth about the typical draconian recording company contract will come out, and the real destination of most of the profits will be exposed for all to see.

    I think the artist should get a much larger cut, personally, but the internet might render a lot of the old stuff moot eventually in any case. Who needs a recording contract when you can record your music (or other works) digitally and stick them on a web site? :-)
  • Comopensation? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by misleb ( 129952 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:22PM (#21765678)
    Wait a minute. This is totally backwards. Being played on the radio is basically advertising. The record companies should be paying radio stations to get artists heard. And the bigger the hit, the more they pay to keep it playing. Or something like that.

    Then again, it would suck for indie labels that might not be able to afford to pay to broadcast. And you'd end with an even smaller subset of music being played on the radio.

    How about a compromise. Record labels admit that radio play is free advertising. And Radio stations continue to get revenue from advertsing.


You will never amount to much. -- Munich Schoolmaster, to Albert Einstein, age 10