The RIAA-backed organization musicFIRST took to Capitol Hill with a bevy of supporters to make its case for enactment of the Performance Rights Act, which would create a performance royalty for music played over the radio. Only half of the cash would actually go to performers.
Recording artist Dionne Warwick was one of the headliners at the Washington event. She said, “This is a critical issue for not only those of us who have made music our careers, but for those who are trying to make a name for themselves in the business. Performers from every genre of music should be fairly compensated for their art. Thus far, radio is the only medium that fails to provide artists with fair compensation for the use of their music and we feel it is time for radio companies to join Satellite, Internet, and Cable music distributors in giving musical artists what they have worked so hard to earn.”
The National Association of Broadcasters issued a response. Dennis Wharton said, “The unfortunate truth is that this legislation benefits foreign-owned record labels to the detriment of ‘struggling artists.’ With diminished revenues, radio stations will take less risk in exposing ‘struggling artists.’ This is a job-killing bill that threatens a musician’s number one promotional vehicle while transferring hundreds of millions of dollars into the coffers of companies based in Tokyo, Paris and London.”
musicFIRST says it is being supported by groups including Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, National Congress of Black Women, National Puerto Rican Coalition, National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association, Labor Heritage Foundation, A. Philip Randolph Institute, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Afro-Latino Development Alliance, League of Rural Voters, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.