Fees for "performing" copyrighted music on radio, are a historic travesty. The radio industry once stood up for its rights and told ASCAP where to get off, forming BMI and enticing many artists away from ASCAP because radio wouldn’t play any ASCAP music. Now we have RIAA in the act, and true to form they are looking at the very narrow view of instant profits rather then helping to prop up a newly developing industry. Radio streaming will, in all likelihood replace over the air radio in the future. It will grow much faster than satellite, and will provide listeners with a tremendous variety of programming, including in some cases, music.
Music, however, isn’t the only thing being provided on web streams. Schools are streaming their sports activities. Churches are streaming their Sunday services, and special interest audiences that aren’t big enough to justify a broadcast are now able to get their message out worldwide. We don’t want to let anybody mess that up.
But exorbitant fees threaten to set back by many years an industry that already has established a firm technological base. We need to tell the music people what we told the buggy whip people when horses gave way to cars, "start providing something useful if you want to survive." The future is not in CDs or mini-disks or Vinyl, the future will lie in digital files that do not require a conventional distribution system. My advice is stop suing everybody, then sit down and determine where RIAA fits into this new world order, and create a useful service that people are willing to pay for, not an archaic one that must be crammed down their throats.
Our legislators need to heed this message and let the marketplace decide where this industry is going, not provide legislation designed to keep an unneeded, unwanted, and outmoded organization in business for a few more years.
John F. Schad, President
Smarts Broadcast Systems