Indy reporter blasts performance fee


Indianapolis Star media reporter Erika Smith spent some ink looking into the Performance Rights Act, and has come to the conclusion that soaking radio stations with new fees isn’t the best way to serve the public. She said that it may be true that radio stations aren’t quite the same force they were in the past when it comes to exposing Americans to new music, the fact remains that “…most Americans still listen to good ol’ AM and FM stations (shocking to Sirius XM fans, yes, I know).”

Smith noted the obvious – this is hardly the economic climate in which to hit radio broadcasters with another business expense, even if you believe that airplay is worthless to the record companies. She fears that some stations could be forced out of business.

She also took internet only music sources to task for their support of creating a more level playing field – this after many of them were forced out of business by the outrageously high performance fees they have been saddled with. Better to try to get a sensible deal on their side than to sit on the sidelines enjoying yourself while they extract a pound of flesh from your competitors.

RBR/TVBR observation: What is most annoying about this debate is the fact that all the love poems intoned on Capitol Hill are directed at musicians – while much of the money generated from this tax will go to large multinational corporations.

We’ll take a moment to remind everybody of the strange case of Lyle Lovett – who testified on behalf of musicians, but who later admitted that to this point of his lengthy and illustrious recording career, he had yet to see a penny from any of his recordings.

Legislators should be looking into the largely one-way relationship between labels and artists, not siding with labels against the very broadcasters who for decades have been one of the keys to the label’s own success.