Musicians getting ripped off, all right


Jim Cooper (D-TN) took to the pages of his hometown Nashville Tennessean to argue in favor of the Performance Rights Act, saying that “our songwriters and performers are being ripped off every day.” Whit Adamson of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters agrees they’re getting ripped off, but not by radio – by the labels. In fact, Cooper said Nashville was the birthplace of the musician v. label lawsuit.

“Congress is attempting to drag broadcasters into a fight between record labels and their artists, and as a result, will threaten radio’s very existence,” wrote Adamson in a response published in the same newspaper. “The historical evidence of record labels cheating artists out of royalties is overwhelming. In fact, the very first lawsuit to that effect was right here in Nashville.”

He noted that the actions in Congress have failed to take note of radio’s promotional value to artists, nor to properly credit radio for the many successful career that its free airplay has made possible.

He wondered why, if Congress is truly concerned about musicians, it’s sending half the PRA cash to the labels. “Finally, if this legislation is aimed at ‘helping artists,’ why does it direct half of the money to these ‘giant record-label companies? If this legislation were to pass, it ‘makes one wonder: Who are the real performers? This would be the ‘largest transference of revenue in history from American radio ‘companies to foreign interests and will never fix the underlying ‘problems of fairness or the relationship between performers and ‘their record labels. On this issue, we will have to agree to disagree with Rep. Cooper.”

RBR/TVBR observation: This is a complicated matter, and it’s easy to be fooled by the labels when they hide behind musicians if you lack knowledge of the real issues. Note that Cooper displays his lack of knowledge right up front – the minute he mentions songwriters.