Since January, the musicFIRST coalition — founded a decade ago — has seen a thrust of activity across Capitol Hill. They’ve successfully influenced such members of the U.S. House of Representatives as Florida Democrat Ted Deutch, co-sponsor of the “PROMOTE Act,” and newly powerful Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), has helped led efforts to re-introduced the “Fair Play Fair Pay Act.”
These efforts couldn’t have been made possible without the efforts of recently appointed musicFIRST Executive Director Chris Israel. Since the transition of power at the White from President Obama to President Trump, Israel’s desire to bring a new schedule of performance royalty payments to AM and FM radio stations has fueled a vociferous level of dissent from the NAB, a lead player behind the “Local Radio Freedom Act.”
This act has the support of 180 bipartisan members of Congress, who will oppose any new fee or “tax on radio” for the airplay of music.
The result is a war on airplay, with the industry’s leading lobbying organization for radio stations and broadcasting companies waging battle against a coalition that includes — most notably — the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
The NAB has helped its cause by placing an advertisement in widely read Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill, stating its case that radio brings results — for recording artists seeking a sales boost.
Why is musicFIRST aggressively seeking new royalty payments for radio now, some 10 years after it was first formed?
We asked the NAB for their take on the matter.