More than 100 artists descended on Capitol Hill today, including Billy Idol and the drummer who played on Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes,” to get Congress to support the Performance Rights Act. The legislation would compensate artists when their music is played on the radio. So far, musicians don’t get paid when their songs are broadcast over the air unless they wrote the songs; the royalties go to the songwriters.
As we’ve said before, we’re not fans of the Performance Rights bill. With terrestrial radio already struggling thanks to the shrinking ad market and an exodus of listeners to Internet radio, iTunes and various other music outlets, forcing beseiged broadcasters to suddenly fork over additional royalty money that they didn’t have to pay for decades seems unfair to radio and misguided.
Luckily, the National Association of Broadcasters has been circulating a resolution on the hill that opposes introducing “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” on radio stations. It has been gaining support among House members, with 135 representatives supporting the resolution as of Tuesday. Unfortunately, during the last Congress, the same resolution to oppose the passage of a performance rights act was circulated on the Hill and got more support: 225 signatures. So, it’s possible the Performance Rights Act will pass.
But at least, Kim Carnes’ drummer might soon see some cash.
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