Everybody’s getting into the act. While both houses of Congress react to possible changes in media ownership rules, the Senate Judiciary Committee is getting ready to take on the topic of artist compensation for airplay. The session is called "Exploring the Scope of Public Performance Rights," and it’s scheduled for tomorrow 11/13/07 at 10AM. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lyle Lovett has been tapped to testify on behalf of performers.
RBR/TVBR observation: We saw Judy Collins and Sam Moore cast in the Lovett role over at the House this year, and famous artists make for articulate and appealing witnesses. The question remains, however, if a new performance royalty will benefit them, or the big multinational labels. There is also the very large question of factoring in the promotional value of free airplay, a pillar of a two-way symbiotic relationship that has held up just fine for decades until the recording companies, desperate to make up lost revenue due to their failure to respond quickly enough to new digital realities, suddenly decided to turn it into a one-way street emptying into their own bank accounts. We suspect the off-ramps of that street leading to the accounts of thousands of artists will be on the tiny side. Instead of investigating this arrangement, maybe Congress should be looking into the relationship between labels and artists – from what we can tell, there is no love lost there at all.