Musicians looking for cash from radio


There's a new coalition on the block – the musicFIRST Coalition, and it's looking for cash. Comprised of performing and recording musicians, it wants to receive compensation whenever one of their performances is played over the air. AFTRA agrees, NAB does not.

According to the Associated Press, big names such as Celine Dion, Wyclef Jean, Don Henley, Patti LaBelle, Jimmy Buffett, Toby Keith, John Legend, Jennifer Lopez, and Christina Aguilera are among those in the coalition, which calls for payments for themselves and everyone else who is heard on a recording, including instrumentalists and back-up singers.

AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth agreed, saying "AFTRA members are committed to fairness in radio. The recognition in American law that the performance of music on AM and FM radio has value – and that artists' contributions to that value must be acknowledged and compensated – is long overdue."

NAB EVP Dennis Wharton responded, "Congress has long recognized that radio airplay of music generates millions of dollars in revenue for record labels and artists. Were it not for radio's free promotional airplay of music on stations all over America, most successful recording artists would still be playing in a garage."

SmartMedia observation: What nobody seems to be talking about is that the music industry was caught completely flat-footed by the internet revolution and is still struggling to come up with a business model to get back its former profitability. In its search for cash, it's trying to muscle cash out any source it can. But in the final analysis, NAB is correct. Musicians can't rail against broadcasters for forcing them into prolonged obscurity by not airing their work on the one hand, and then rail against broadcasters for failure to pay up when they are on the air. Radio and music have long had a symbiotic relationship which is beneficial, even vital, to both. Radio needs the content, and musicians need the exposure. That's a fair trade.Broward to re-up deal with WIOD after all
Radio station WIOD will remain Broward County's official channel for emergency info despite County commissioners' concerns it is also home to Rush Limbaugh (6/14/07 RBR #116).

County commissioners told The South Florida Sun Sentinel they were "deluged"  with complaints from throughout the country Wednesday after they questioned whether to cut their ties with the station because of their dislike for El Rushbo. By the end of the day, a majority of commissioners vowed to renew WIOD's agreement next week.