Commuters passing through the Capitol South subway station on Capitol Hill in Washington will not be able to miss the National Association of Broadcasters’ campaign against the RIAA’s performance tax. It is one of the main stops serving congressional staffers and others with business on the Hill. Meanwhile, iconic crooner Tony Bennett was singing on behalf of the tax in front of a crowd including some key senators.
The NAB has no less than 45 ads in the station promoting free local radio and opposing the recording industry’s effort to solve their own economic and mismanagement woes at radio’s expense. NAB is promoting the Local Radio Freedom Act, now endorsed by 178 house members, as an antidote to the recotd company attempt on radio’s wallet.
“Every week, radio airplay reaches 235 million Americans, promoting both new and legacy artists and generating more than a billion dollars in CD and download sales for record labels annually. By contrast, artists routinely sue their record labels for cheating them out of royalty money,” said NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton. “We welcome an honest debate over which side has been a better friend to recording artists: America’s hometown radio stations or foreign-owned record labels.”
According to the Associated Press, Bennett said, “”The radios don’t want to give up one penny.” Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) were in attendance. Leahy has much to say in the matter as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
RBR/TVBR observation: Tony Bennett is a prime example of a famous recording artist who would stand to make almost nothing off of performance royalties – he just isn’t on very many playlists these days. And when it comes to his big band efforts, you really have to wonder if the guy reading the second alto sax or the third trombone book will be remembered by the big recording conglomerates when it comes time to dole out the radio cash.