The Local Radio Freedom Act is the antidote to John Conyers’ (D-MI) Performance Rights Act, and its list of co-sponsors is now up to 144. The latest to autograph the bill include Corrine Brown (D-FL), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Artur Davis (D-AL), Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), Jack Kingston (R-GA), Solomon Ortiz (D-TX), Bill Posey (R-FL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), and Rob Wittman (R-VA).
Nab took the occasion of announcing the new signatories to point out one of the reasons it is possible to find performance royalties in place in other nations: the lack of a level playing field. The regime differences can be found in two major areas: public funding and local artists dictates.
In the US, the vast majority of music stations are owned and funded by the business sector. The high number of stations and intense competition for listeners guarantee a wide variety of choice for consumers and opportunity for artists. That is not the case in many other nations, where there may be few stations due to simple lack of geographical mass, and where many of the broadcast outlets are government owned or subsidized. In quite a few nations, a certain percentage of the music played must be of local origin, including Canada, where 35% of all music played must be of the homegrown variety.
RBR/TVBR observation: Among those going to bat for broadcasters is Steve Newberry, who addressed this topic on Capitol Hill before in admirable fashion. However, if it’s impossible to head off the Judiciary’s enthusiasm for this misbegotten legislation, it will be necessary to take the fight to the floor—and to all indications broadcasters have a good chance to prevail there.