musicFIRST back on the Hill drumming up royalty support


A group of legislators and union officials joined with folk musician Peter Yarrow to push for passage of the Performance Rights Act, saying that the only thing holding up the bill was the greed of radio conglomerates that control 75% of the airwaves.

Joining Yarrow at a Capitol Hill event were George Miller (D-CA), John Conyers (D-MI), Bob Brady (D-PA), AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, American Federation of Musicians President Tom Lee, and American Federation of Radio and Television Artists President Roberta Reardon.

“The labor movement was founded on the principle that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. That’s the principle at stake in the fight for the Performance Rights Act,” said Trumka. “Working people understand too well that big corporations use their power and influence in Washington to protect their profits at the expense of the rest of us.”

He added, “The reckless greed that drives Wall Street is the same as the unconscionable greed that drives the handful of conglomerate corporate radio executives that control 75 percent of our nation’s radio stations.  If you care about music, if you care about the right of Americans to get paid for their work, if you care about doing what is right, be a part of the good fight for our performing brothers and sisters.”

RBR-TVBR observation: A few points – Yes, there are a handful of large radio companies, but the vast majority of licensees are small businesses. Clear Channel is the biggest, but as of 12/31/09, it was claiming ownership of 894 stations. The drop-off in size is steep after that. That’s out of some 12,000 stations.

Second, we admire and respect Mr. Yarrow, but when was the last time you heard him on the radio? We suspect that he personally stands to gain very little if PRA becomes the law, but the record companies will make sure they get their 50% cut off the top.

Finally, radio helps musicians put money in the bank with free promotion of music, concerts and other paraphernalia. When is Capitol Hill going to get around to looking into the record labels’ responsibility to offer musicians a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work?