I’ve been thinking an awful lot about the RIAA’s proposed “performance tax” and the more I think about it, the more I’m coming around to the idea that we should let it pass.
Our obvious reaction would be to simply add a disclaimer once an hour and charge the artists and the record companies for airplay. Can’t be done, you say? Think about it. Of course it can. The people we now use to program our stations would become our reps. Think of it as network compensation like we used to get before the network business model changed.
What would happen is that our music stations would become an awful lot like ESPN. That is, we’d have two income streams instead of just one. And, trust me, with the exception of the disclaimer, there won’t be a hell of a lot of difference in the programming because when artists realize they’re no longer getting airplay, they’ll line up to deal with us.
Better, a lot of artists might choose to dump their record companies.
Given the advent of the MP3 file, the truth is that most of them really don’t need those parasites anyway.
They could deal directly with networks of radio stations playing their music and pay us by the download on the basis of market size (and by that I mean trade area not necessarily the size of the city to which you are licensed. Our country station in Winnemucca NV, as an example, draws listeners from an area of 50,000 people.)
I, for one, am perfectly willing to blow up the old business model of music radio because I’m pretty sure we will make a lot more money. And, if it turns out that recording artists really don’t need us, than we need a new business model anyway.
When music was no longer viable for AM radio, we invented talkradio.
Why should we adopt a mantra of no performance tax when, in fact, we can probably make more money with some forward thinking?
My advice for the greedy bastards at RIAA is what my father has always told me.
Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.