MusicFirst in it for the long haul


The attempt to extend performance royalties for musicians to the AM and FM spectrum is just getting started. According to the Washington Post, John L. Simpson is taking point on the project as executive director of SoundExchange and overseer of the MusicFirst coalition. He's a former musician, and as a lawyer got into the music talent representation business before sliding over to SoundExchange. Simpson told the Post that it was unfair that songwriters get a small piece of change every time a tune gets a spin on the radio while the artists themselves get nothing. He's hoping to find sympathetic ears on Capitol Hill, and further hoping that high profile artists with a vested interest in the cause will help him get Capitol Hill's attention. He said he expects a long, hard-fought and potentially expensive battle, since the NAB has a vested interest in stopping the campaign on grounds that it would be a budget buster for most small operators.

Border Media Partners honcho Tom Castro told the San Antonio Business Journal that such a plan could "…kill the radio industry." The Recording Industry Association of America is part of the push for performance royalties. SABJ noted that although they it is separate from SoundExchange, RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol is one of SoundExchange's directors.

SmartMedia observation: As anybody who has been awake for the last 50 years knows, radio and music have a symbiotic relationship. They need one another. RIAA wants radio to pay to play music. What would it think if radio demanded that musicians pay to have their music put on the air?