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Music The Almighty Buck United States Politics

Legislation Would Force Radio Stations To Pay Royalties 218

Major Blud writes: Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the "Fair Play Fair Pay Act" today that would end regulations that allow terrestrial radio stations to avoid paying royalties to artists and labels. Currently, AM/FM radio stations aren't required to pay royalties to publishers and songwriters. The proposed measure requires stations that earn less than $1 million a year in revenue to pay $500 annually. For nonprofit public, college and other non-commercial broadcasters, the fee would be $100 per year. Religious and talk stations would be exempt from any payments. Larger radio companies like iHeartMedia (858 stations in the U.S.) would have to pay more.

"The current system is antiquated and broken. It pits technologies against each other, and allows certain services to get away with paying little or nothing to artists. For decades, AM/FM radio has used whatever music it wants without paying a cent to the musicians, vocalists, and labels that created it. Satellite radio has paid below market royalties for the music it uses, growing into a multibillion dollar business on the back of an illogical 'grandfathered' royalty standard that is now almost two decades old," said Congressman Nadler.
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Legislation Would Force Radio Stations To Pay Royalties

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  • ASCAP and BMI (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sylak ( 1611137 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @12:22AM (#49467823)
    So what you're saying is my college radio didn't need to pay ASCAP and BMI?
    • Re:ASCAP and BMI (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @12:35AM (#49467861)

      Those are licenses, not royalties. If you want an example of how to make licensing so complicated that it's incomprehensible, read up on music licensing and royalties. Licensing to ASCAP/BMI is not a royalty - it's a license. I would think that BMI/ASCAP would pay royalties as part of the license fee, but it sounds like they don't.

      Someone needs to come out with a diagram of how, what, and who gets paid in the music business.

      • Re:ASCAP and BMI (Score:5, Informative)

        by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @12:56AM (#49467925) Homepage Journal

        Those are licenses, not royalties.

        You are technically correct—the best kind of correct.

        Radio stations pay licensing fees to ASCAP and BMI, who in turn pay the composers and publishers proportionally based on the percentage of airplay (and concerts and other performances) that their songs received. They do not pay the artists or the record companies, so the article is correct in that regard. But yes, they most certainly do pay the composers and publishers, albeit indirectly. That's the whole reason those performance rights organizations exist.

        There is a caveat, however. Not all radio stations are considered "reporting stations". I know our college radio station diligently logged our plays for reporting purposes, but when it comes to actual royalty payouts, those organizations use a random sampling of radio stations, rather than tallying every song on every station. If your music is played only on a small number of radio stations, there's a good chance you won't get paid because you won't show up in their sampling. Now over time, they're getting closer and closer to full reporting, so this is becoming less of a problem, but it is something to keep in mind.

        In any case, I would say that the summary is just plain wrong. In effect, radio stations pay royalties (indirectly) to composers and publishers, but not to performers and record labels.

        • Re:ASCAP and BMI (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gumbi west ( 610122 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @01:12AM (#49467971) Journal

          The flip side of the sampling is that there is some near (but not exactly) zero play bands getting far more than their share of royalties. Basically, they face a very imprecise but accurate estimate of their payout.

          • Re:ASCAP and BMI (Score:4, Interesting)

            by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @02:11AM (#49468119) Homepage Journal

            In theory, yes, sampling tends to result in large errors for small values, in both directions.

            In practice, I think the sampling mostly covers large stations in major markets, so I'd expect it to skew away from low-play bands a lot more often than it skews towards them. But that's just a gut feeling; I could be wrong.

            • by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @03:00AM (#49468267) Journal

              I reject the very idea that the system could possibly be gamed for the general advantage of the major labels and their most popular bands.

            • Re:ASCAP and BMI (Score:4, Insightful)

              by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @07:39AM (#49468927) Homepage Journal

              Back in the days when people used to care about music charts the people who compiled them would do samplings at a number of record shops. Record labels got to know which shops they were using and sent people to them to buy every single copy of a new release, just to make sure it charted well.

              Seems like the same sort of thing would be easy here. Just find one of the stations often used for sampling and bribe them to give you a few percent more plays, resulting in a big increase in royalties.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by dresgarcia ( 251585 )

              At one time, this was true. There was a time when all sampling was done "by hand". This is no longer true, and has not been true for quite some time, thanks to the advancement of technology. From 2002 to 2006 I worked for a company that was directly funded by ASCAP. We sampled dozens of stations in at least the 110 Media Markets across the US, as well as some international and online stations. Using as many as 5 servers per market we were tracking a minimum of 10 stations per server. Using digital fingerpr

          • Re:ASCAP and BMI (Score:4, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @05:28AM (#49468589)

            "Basically, they face a very imprecise but accurate estimate of their payout."

            Wouldn't that be the other way around?

            You have your precision, 0.0001% of airplay, but your accuracy is off. If a value has fine precision, but based on "loose" information, you can get precision without accuracy. Saying pi is 1.23456789098765432 is very precise, but saying it is 3 is more accurate. Random sampling would get you a precise number when you do your division, but if the sampling size is too small, it would be inaccurate.

            Let's say you have 100 stations, but only sample 8 stations, playing 100 songs each.. Only 1 station plays Two Tons of Steel's "Death Trap" and reports it. They love the song and played it 5 times. That one station is in your sample of 8 stations. You do the numbers, and TTS have 5 of the 800 plays in the sample. TTS gets 0.625% of airtime. A nice precise number. However, it is inaccurate by an order of magnitude. They got 0.05% of airtime.

        • Re:ASCAP and BMI (Score:5, Interesting)

          by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @04:21AM (#49468449)

          Yeah I can attest to this. I know for a fact my album was played a number of times on various US radio stations, but acording to ASCAP it never was at all.

          Which is kind of annoying, because at least one of those stations was fairly big in California . if I'm not mistaken.

        • by Megane ( 129182 )

          They do not pay the artists or the record companies

          "American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers"

          Well, "performers" certainly isn't in there. A publisher [] seems to be the company that holds the copyrights for the songs, not the record label that actually manufactures the recordings.

      • by c ( 8461 ) <> on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @07:55AM (#49468981)

        Someone needs to come out with a diagram of how, what, and who gets paid in the music business.

        Risky. On one hand, you might just end up with a diagram telling you where the buck stops. On the other hand, you might end up summoning the Elder Gods.

      • LICENSES are merely the means to collect the fees to pay the royalties. They are, in fact one and the same. One is merely the means of securing the other.

        BMI and ASCAP pay the writers of the music.
        RIAA is payment merely for the use of a recording.

        Frankly, any such law, should state that 75% of the royalties should go directly to the artists. Otherwise, there should be no collection. Presently, most artists rarely see any of their royalties. It used to be because artists were indebted to the recording stu

        • But these days, many artists self-produce professional quality musicin home studios - often of better quality than the recording label studios.

          How do artists who write their own songs make sure that these songs are in fact original? See, for example, "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison that was discovered to have been a subconscious copy of "He's So Fine" by Ronald Mack, or "Stay with Me" by Sam Smith that was discovered to have been a subconscious copy of "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty.

  • School of Rock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fireflymantis ( 670938 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @12:23AM (#49467827) Homepage

    Dewey: Oh, you wanna learn something?

    Summer: Yes, I do.

    Dewey: You want me to teach you something? [most of the students nod] Here's a useful lesson for you: give up. Just quit. Because in this life, you can't win. Sure, you can try. [really getting angry] But in the end you're just gonna lose, BIG TIME. Because THE WORLD is run by the Man.

    Frankie: Who?

    Dewey: The Man. Oh, you don't know the Man? [class shakes their heads] He's everywhere. In the White House, down the hall, MISS MULLINS, she's the Man. And the Man ruined the ozone, and he's burning down the Amazon, and he kidnapped Shamu and put her in a chlorine tank! Okay? And there used to be a way to stick it to The Man. It was called rock ‘n’ roll. But guess what. Oh, no. The Man ruined that too with a little thing called MTV! So don’t waste your time trying to make anything cool or pure or awesome, because The Man’s just going to call you a fat, washed up loser and crush your soul. So do yourselves a favor and just GIVE UP!!!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      If this goes through, It could provoke more play of local (i.e. 'less expensive') artists. That would a good thing, yes? Or, does music get cheaper when bought in bulk... is Coldplay is 1 cent a spin, and local group USS is a dollar a spin? What bothers me the most is how any control over the pricing here results in upper level control of what songs get played. Only if somehow the artists themselves get to pick royalty pricing could I see this working.

    • Want to starve 'The Man' out of existence, deny 'The Man' access to your wallet, deny 'The Man' access to your choices, deny 'The Man' access to your relationships, deny 'The Man' everything you can, you might not win but when enough of us do it, 'The Man', also loses.

      • you might not win but when enough of us do it, 'The Man', also loses.

        And this is why civilizations fall, instead of fixing themselves. Because revolution only works when enough of us are on the same page at once. Nobody wants to be first. By the time enough people are upset to fix things, the society falls into revolt and then you usually get an even worse government, which is just as corrupt as the old government but also ignorant of how to operate a nation.

  • Now I can finally sleep at night, knowing that those poor, starving artists are being properly compensated...
    • Re:Thank god (Score:4, Informative)

      by gumbi west ( 610122 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @01:17AM (#49467985) Journal

      There are a lot of people besides artists who work hard to make music. There are many jobs that need to be done. It's like a movie--think of how many people you could name that work on a movie vs how many appear in the credits. Yes, the people you could name get paid more, but everyone else in the industry still would rather have that money to do that movie job than some other job.

      Human's have a tendency to focus on the obvious (the star, in this case) and not to think about the everything else--but it's still there, even if we don't think about it. It's like dark matter and dark energy in that way, I guess.

      • There are a lot of people besides artists who work hard to make music. There are many jobs that need to be done.

        And the people who do these important jobs ought to be paid for their time on a "work made for hire" basis, as opposed to a residual basis. Does the company that built an office building, for example, continue to receive royalties from transactions conducted in that building?

  • Free advertising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShaunC ( 203807 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @12:37AM (#49467863)

    For decades, AM/FM radio has used whatever music it wants without paying a cent to the musicians, vocalists, and labels that created it.

    That's because radio is free advertising for the artists. Now they want the free advertising and to get paid for it, too? In decades past, the labels would bribe radio station PD's to get their music played; I wonder if they'd rather return to that model where it costs them money (and coke, and cars, and plane tickets) to get their artists some airtime?

    Speaking of payola, it should come as no surprise that "TV/Movies/Music" are among the top 3 industries donating money to both Mr. Nadler [] and Ms. Blackburn [].

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @12:51AM (#49467903) Homepage

      I think it's more along the lines of: Internet Radio came along and the music industry wanted them to pay royalties because "Internet" equals "One Step Away From Piracy." They wouldn't let their music near the "PiracyNet" unless they were compensated first. Fine, so the Internet Radio companies paid them. Now, however, the executives got greedier and noticed that Internet Radio was paying them while Non-Internet Radio wasn't. Greedy executives saw dollar signs and decided that this couldn't stand so they got their buddies in Congress to put forward legislation to force everyone to pay them royalties. (Oops. I mean every Radio company. The "everyone needs to pay $X a month to the music industry no matter what you do" legislation is still being ironed out.)

      • by LihTox ( 754597 )

        I assumed this was coming from the Internet Radio stations saying "Hey, how is it fair that we have to pay royalties and those guys don't?"

    • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @12:53AM (#49467913) Homepage Journal

      In decades past, the labels would bribe radio station PD's to get their music played

      It's much more efficient now. Everybody is owned by the same megacorps so there doesn't have to be any "corruption" to make sure only your artists get airtime.

      • by ShaunC ( 203807 )

        It's much more efficient now. Everybody is owned by the same megacorps so there doesn't have to be any "corruption" to make sure only your artists get airtime.

        Considering that they specifically mentioned IHeartRadio, which is what ClearChannel has become, I'm certain that you're correct to an extent. There's still corruption, but it's been redirected. These days instead of labels paying the stations, the labels are paying politicians. And ClearChannel's campaign contributions have apparently dwindled to the point where the music industry is outdoing them. I figure all this proposed legislation will do is cause ClearChannel, or IHeart, or whatever they call themse

    • I think the radio stations should start charging labels for airplay advertising to recoup the increased cost of program material. Advertising is already starving radio stations as media is moving online. About the only ones listening to over the air radio anymore is commuters trying to wake up and catch the traffic report. Now that Google Maps has added the real time traffic overlay on maps, even that is going away as people use a cell GPS to avoid traffic gridlock.

      How many homes no longer have a home st

      • >How many homes no longer have a home stereo system with a radio turner?

        I do. I leave it on to keep the dog company while I'm out and about. He feels pretty strongly about not paying royalties as the programming's pretty weak.

        The humans in the house use Internet streaming or locally stored content.

      • by colfer ( 619105 )

        And on NPR the talk format is wiping out the music format in many markets.

      • Now that Google Maps has added the real time traffic overlay on maps, even that is going away as people use a cell GPS to avoid traffic gridlock.

        Radio is a way of avoiding having to pay a cell carrier an extra $400 a year for a data plan in order to stream music or traffic data in a moving vehicle.

    • Speaking of payola, it should come as no surprise that "TV/Movies/Music" are among the top 3 industries donating money to both Mr. Nadler [] and Ms. Blackburn [].

      Of course, they donate to 90% of the Senators and 97% of the Representatives. It's not like bribing Congress to get your way is somehow restricted to these two...

      Always remember, if you give government the power to do anything you want, then there's big money in just paying off the government to get your way. Note,

    • by Enry ( 630 )

      If that were still the case, then why are satellite and online radio paying royalties?

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Anyone who plays non-free music is required to pay royalties under the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995. Were you asking why the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 was enacted? Or were you asking why satellite and online radio choose to play non-free music?

    • by ElVee ( 208723 )

      Radio will end up being an endless replay of the same 20 pop hits by the same mega-artists.

      Oh, wait. It already is.

  • BULL$#1T (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chromaexcursion ( 2047080 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @12:42AM (#49467879)
    There's NOTHING in the bill that would pay artists,
    only record companies.
    As to the comments on ASCAP and BMI. In most cases "license fees" are another term for royalties. And in this case they are.
    This is more backdoor BS by the record company shills.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      To be fair, it was always about the copyright owners and never about the artist. It basically is : Do you want to be famous and make a bit of money or do you want to keep the copyright to your music?

      And note that this is still just about the copyright owner. e.g. the singer/songwriter. All others are payed by the hour, most of the time.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    'grandfathered' royalty standard that is now almost two decades old," said Congressman Nadler.

    Is it just me, or is that pretty young for regulations? Do we really need to re-write the laws every five years? I'm pretty liberal, but I don't see how businesses can make any long term plans if regulations are going to shift that rapidly.

    • I think it means they didn't get the previous bill to give them payment that they wanted, so they want to try again. I agree, a 20 year old law doesn't sound that out of date yet.

      • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

        20 years is long enough for an information-based business to be completely thrown into turmoil by the internet. I'm not saying it was, but there's been a lot of change in the field. More so than in a lot of other markets.

  • I'm so confused now. There are artists, song writers, labels and publishers. Then there is physical media, purchased digital, free streaming, paid streaming, AM/FM and satellite. Who is getting paid and who is paying?
    • by gnupun ( 752725 )

      Who is getting paid and who is paying?

      Also, if your radio station is making $1 million in yearly revenue, how is paying $500 for the content (songs) considered fair?

      • "Making" should be the profit, not the gross revenue brought in by station operaton. "Revenue" and "profit" get mixed in the minds of many people. They are not the same. When I worked for a 3 KW FM station as an intern years go, all the "revenue" went for operating costs of the station: building rent, transmitter land rent, property taxes, salaries (why do you think they liked a zero-dollar intern?), electricity, cost of network fees, consulting engineers (to conduct the measurements the FCC requires for
        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          All those tapes were rented, not purchased, because royalties had to be paid on that music coming from the ceiling of your local supermarket.

          In other words, it has become almost impossible to buy food without feeding the major record labels. Do I understand you correctly?

  • Some radio stations would definitely fold under this scheme, as they'd have to be more commercially oriented than now...

    IMO, the RIAA/MPAA can go fuck themselves... they're the ones killing the music/movie industry
    • The summary said it would be $500 if you make less than $1M in revenue. Doesn't seem like a ton of money.

      If the huge corporate stations without jockeys fold I'm not so sure I care.

      • The summary said it would be $500 if you make less than $1M in revenue. Doesn't seem like a ton of money.

        That's the whole idea. Ask for (or in this case demand) a little more from everybody, and hope the complaints are not too loud and it gets pushed through. Its just another quick buck.

  • In France, the SACEM is in charge of having any "music player" to pay something. "Music players" include TV, radio, nightclubs and even restaurants, cafés... someone plays some music, and there is always a SACEM agent to ensure they pay something, these people are as sticky as a pita.
    • That's right but then I believe that falls in the "license, not royalties" distinction.

      You can theoretically play only music not affiliated to the SACEM I guess but good luck with that.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @01:16AM (#49467983) Journal
    What principled justification would there be for excluding 'religious' and 'talk' stations from payment? One would think that any 'religious' station would either be a nonprofit or deserve to pay like any other business; and 'talk' is huge business, and presumably not a terribly heavy consumer of music.

    I can take a few guesses about the pragmatic political considerations for those exemptions; but they aren't exactly complementary.
    • What principled justification would there be for excluding 'religious' and 'talk' stations from payment?

      Obviously, this is an attempt to fight the scourge which is "christian rock". It would be terrible if we passed a law which resulted in those people earning revenues.

    • by Sabriel ( 134364 )

      Indeed, and further, I'm trying to understand how "religious and talk stations are exempt" is supposed to be reconciled with "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". E.g. per the majority decision by the Supreme Court in Everson v. Board of Education (1947):

      The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer on

  • ...stations be free of this forced payola as well? If not, is there are list somewhere of which dieties must be worshipped to escape this tax?

  • Speaking of updating outdated regulations... Is it time to give some thought to the amount of precious, precious, spectrum we dedicate to broadcasting low quality audio using extraordinarily archaic techniques? Sure, I appreciate being able to tune in to talk radio with nothing but a chunk of germanium and the patience to poke it until it agrees to start rectifying; but I need a better reason than that to operate a dinosaur preserve.
    • Regarding FM radio at least : there are strong non-technical issues. Local stations (small ones, non profit etc.) would have to go to a middle man for multiplexing, if only digital radio is allowed. If they survive, they might only afford low bandwith : if a musical radio station has to sound like 64K MP3, kiss it good bye.
      Then there's the issue of being locked into some codec. MP2 radios have to be junked if you upgrade to AAC, and AAC is not that good anyway : it would be better to throw that stuff out an

  • Oz Pop and Rock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Whiteox ( 919863 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @01:33AM (#49468023) Journal

    They tried that in the late 60's in Australia. So the Aust. radio stations refused to play any US pop/rock and concentrated on available UK bands That very thing allowed the local industry to air home grown tracks on radio (and TV) and I for one think it was the beginning of the early commercial Oz music. Eventually the USA licensors gave up but the re-uptake of US bands by radio stations was slow.
    The other thing is that quite a few radio stations are owned by religious organizations, even though they are full commercial for the added revenue.

  • We now know the names of the two Congress critters who are owned by the RIAA/ASCAP/BMI.
  • It pits technologies against each other, and allows certain services to get away with paying little or nothing to artists.

    Just like the record companies, you mean?

  • I mean this is what...15 years after Napster? We've had Pandora, Spotify, Grooveshark, Slacker, etc. for years now. Plus iTunes, Google Play and Amazon MP3. And the exceptionally lazy/cheap can use Youtube for all their music needs.

    But no, now is the moment that we will make those motherfuckers in radio pay.

    Not that I've any love of Clear Channel, but still. Terrestrial radio is already an almost unbearable promotional and self-promotional machine (I know this because I have an old car without an aud
  • Why the special handling of talk stations or - especially - religious stations? Given the tremendous wealth of churches, which themselves are already exempt from many taxes, there is no real reason for them not to pay the artists ...
    On a more general terms, all religions ought to be paying for their profits ... (of course allowing them to deduct expenses for operations as well as any cost that benefit needy etc. ...)

    • by JWW ( 79176 )

      Well, talk is excluded because they don't play music outside of the bumper music going into and out of commercial.

      You could argue that they should pay based on that, but then a talk station with less than $1 in revenue would be paying the same as a 24/7 music station, and that hardly seems fair. Plus if that happened, it could spell the end of bumper music and the talk stations would claim that they play no music, why are they being charged.

      The religious exemption, I have no clue. Religious music publishi

  • To some bureaucratic organization that keeps 99 cents of every dollar to cover the administrative costs and lets the artists share the remaining one cent?
  • "For decades, AM/FM radio has used whatever music it wants without paying a cent to the musicians"

    That is completely false. They pay to ASCAP and BMI, who in turn pay to the musicians. That is why those organisations exist.

    The real issue here is that those organisations are shameless parasites who take almost all the money for themselves before passing anything to the people they claim to represent.

    A finer example of how utterly venal the music business is. Any musician who deals with them gets what they de

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @02:34AM (#49468175)

    Radio stations don't make a lot of money and publishers have been happy for many years with the status quo. I think this is really about hammering internet radio services. Internet radio services point at AM/FM services and say "look at them, they don't pay either"... and as a result, that depresses the bargaining position of publishers with internet radio.

    They want more money from internet radio. And that's also silly because that is also a marginal business. They're basically not making money as it is. If they are forced to pay more they have to charge more and asking listeners to pony up more money every month is going to depress subscriptions and possibly drive the entire service into bankruptcy. Leaving the industry with nothing but itunes and piracy.

    The music industry is run by idiots. We've known this for years. They were approuched by the founders of napster long before they actually started pushing pirated music. They said "hey, lets set up a music service run by the music industry.". We all know what happened. The music bozos threw them out and said don't come back.

    How has that worked out for the music business? They keep thinking they can turn the clock back. They can't. They need to get ahead of the curve or get crushed.

    Their cash reserves and social capital/clout are a diminishing resource. The window of opportunity to have any agency in this issue is closing. They can either wake up or become irrelevant.

  • Just when you thought Radio couldn't get any worse...

    Scrap goddamn copyright law already, this is WAY out of hand...

    Radio = FREE ADVERTISING, consider yourself lucky if your music gets played/

    Thank god for mp3 players, haven't used the radio in years (thanks to the FCC helping destroy radio by letting the same two or three companies own EVERY station in every market)

  • The article quotes "all artists are fairly compensated".

    Why would the publishers and music companies ever support something like that? Their business is based on making sure artists collect as little as possible of their royalties, assisted by collecting organisations siphoning off their share.

    Something smells fishy, unless this is actually a strike against middlemen like the BMI? Probably with the end goal of handing collection over to the music biz further guaranteeing artists don't in fact get "fairly compensated".

  • And extend it from terrestrial broadcasts to satellite and internet radio? Never did understand why the recording industry gets to charge some people to advertise their product.
  • My problem with commercial radio is that you can often set your watch by which song is playing.

    I was on vacation a month or so, an on one particular day, it seemed every damned time I was in the car it was the exact same song playing.

    I think this royalty thing, however, is complete and utter crap, because I completely disagree that the music studios should be paid royalties for the music stations to keep overplaying their pop songs.

    I suspect if the radio stations didn't just keep paying the same songs over

  • Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) - Oct 1, 2012 - Sep 30, 2014:
    #1 Lawyers/Law Firms - $123,056
    #2 TV/Movies/Music (RIAA) - $95,600

    Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) - Oct 1, 2012 - Sep 30, 2014
    #1 Health Professionals - $244,950
    #2 Pharmaceuticals/Health Products - $155,250
    #3 Oil & Gas - $111,100
    #4 TV/Movies/Music (RIAA) - $95,450

    For less than $100,000 per year you too can own a couple members of Congress.
  • All they have to do is pick one of the big 5 labels, one of the smaller two. And say....

    Oops....NONE OF YOUR ARTISTS are getting any airplay.

    That label will tank, as none of their artists will get sales. Meanwhile, those artists will riot, because they will be locked into contracts unable to move to another company, and unable to make profits. The result - RIAA will backpedal.

  • Why exactly is our government passing laws that make a private business process mandatory? Who got paid off to make this happen?
  • How much will radio stations charge the artists for advertising their music so that people buy their songs?

  • They should get a fine for overplaying a song. That would end the largest problem in the history of radio.
  • Radio should play whatever the hell it wants. And people whose music is played should pay radio ("payola") because their sales increase from the exposure.

    If stations have to license music to play it, then perhaps terrestrial radio should start playing more new artists, and fuck the major labels. seriously, fuck them to hell.

  • by Enry ( 630 )

    For 6 weeks a year I have a compilation of Christmas music that I broadcast online for anyone to listen to. Two years ago I figured I'd go legal and do my bit to make sure artists get paid, so I set up an account at Stream Licensing, mostly since I didn't want to deal with individual licensing organizations. The rules placed on SL that then get placed on me are crazy. Here's a small sample from their TOS []

    In any three-hour period, you should not intentionally program more than three songs (and not more th

  • by rjr162 ( 69736 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @10:27AM (#49470065)

    If the terrestrial radio stations aren't paying anything... and there's now one US Satellite music company basically... how in the hell can you say the one satellite music company that IS paying you at least something is paying "below market royalties". I mean, what are they calling the "market" royalties as the only other thing really left is internet streaming, which they made sure years ago to put in place a crazy high rate.

    Was that the plan all along? Get internet radio stations to have to pay some crazy royalty fee and then later bitch that the other options, like satellite, are paying a "below market royalty" compared to internet streaming? I mean, it's not really below market, it's just lower than your extremely high forced/made up market price...

  • People still listen to the radio ?

    Why ?

    I turned it off years ago after tiring of hearing the same music over and Over and OVER again. You can damn near set your watch between the time you hear a particular song and the next time you hear it. Repeatable throughout the day. EVERY DAY. :|

    Hell, for that matter, I don't even listen to commercialized music anymore. It's all homogenized and built around a template designed to make the studios as much money as possible. The audio is highly compressed and push

  • Libraries buy copies of music, then loan those out to the public. No royalties needed. Maybe not the same as a radio station, but if libraries are ever allowed and able to go mostly digital, they will become able to broadcast all over the world as easily as radio stations now broadcast to small areas near their transmitters.

    This royalties scheme sounds like an attempt to quietly add a whole other business model and profit mechanism to the music industry, without them having to give up anything. Typical

  • by zuki ( 845560 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @11:27AM (#49470699) Journal
    This situation is clearly something that few understand. We have two different aspects of copyright here On one hand we have ASCAP and BMI as well as Harry Fox Agency who have responsibilities to handle the income from radio play on behalf of their member songwriters and their publishers.

    However due to an exemption granted by US Congress around 1937 terrestrial radio was granted a limited reprieve from paying the owners of the sound recordings (not publishers, who get paid) any royalties in order to build their broadcasting networks. You would think that by now they have built them after almost 80 years?

    To add insult to injury, because this ruling prevents foreign copyright owners from collecting any performance royalties from their material being broadcast by US radio, these countries around the world reciprocate and deny US owners of sound recordings any income from music they own that gets played on radio stations around the globe, which unlike the US typically do pay sound recording owners for the use of this material.

    Clearly, most if not all radio stations around the rest of the world do pay sound recording owners for use of songs in their catalogs, and still manage to thrive.

    But the lobbying power of the NAB (National broadcasters' association) and the dizzying amounts of money they've spent spreading FUD on making US radio like the rest of the world would be the death of them -> the famous campaign "The Day They Killed The Music" which should really be renamed "The Day They Killed Fat Corporate Profits To Radio Mega-Conglomerates".

    Because even though terrestrial stations across the entire planet have managed to thrive and survive while paying such fees to sound recording owners for all of these years, somehow in the US enacting this legislation would make them die off. Well, one thing for sure: they'd make less profits because they would have to share some of the income with the very people who created the sound recordings; yes, those that they have gotten in the habit of using for free.

    It used to be that "one hand washes the other" because radio play ensured such massive sales that those who got their music played reaped a huge windfall in record sales. So it was tolerated, and no one in their right frame of mind would have dared challenge this. But now that record sales are down to a trickle of their former glory, it's looking as if the exemption has run its course and it doesn't make sense anymore to let radio stations benefit from this anachronistic advantage that hurts sound recording owners doubly by also denying them income from play of their masters overseas.

    Again: sound recordings, not the musical compositions themselves nor the publishers who represent the interest of those who wrote them.

    Lastly, a few years ago terrestrial radio was obviously quite keen on forcing Internet radio startups (unwanted competition) to pay these royalties to sound recording owners they themselves are exempt from. Surely they could anticipate that by doing this, someone was going to eventually challenge their hegemony, and call for fairness across the whole spectrum of broadcasters. Classic case of pot calling the kettle back.

    They've gotten away with it for so long, and built empires from this exemption. It's time for this anachronistic advantage to be erased. One thing we can be sure: they'd rather spend billions making sure it never turns into law rather than spending the same paying it to the owners of the sound recordings whose catalogs they built their business model around, by using them for free for so many decades.
  • In the beginning labels were paying stations to play their artists music, now stations will pay artists or rather labels to play their artists music.

    Why again do they assume this will benefit the artists?
  • For years broadcasters have been trying to kill alternative radio(streaming, satellite) by saying they must pay fees much higher than they do. Now it's their turn. If radio stations are making a profit of playing music, then a percentage of the profit is due back. If the station is small or makes little to no income then their money paid would be much lower or zero. They need to base it on each stations income and make the same rules apply to all (broadcast, streaming, satellite, podcasts). They can't ch
  • From TFA:

    Make a clear statement that pre-1972 recordings have value and those who are profiting from them must pay appropriate royalties for their use

    So, royalties for songs that are 43 years old and older []... I can hear the founding fathers crying from their graves.

  • I am sick to death of "religious" groups getting a pass on taxes and fees. 99% of those organizations are big businesses with only the loosest of ties to "faith." Let them pay, pay, and pay again like every other business.

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.