Performance Royalty showdown in Motown


Detroit is ground zero for the fight over whether to require radio stations to pay performance royalties to record labels and artists. Bill author Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is conducting a town hall meeting Monday on the topic on his home turf – with Motown artists set to face off with black-owned radio.

According to the Detroit News, artists speaking for the idea of making radio pay royalties will include Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, Duke Fakir of the Four Tops and Martha Reeves, the singer turned politician who is currently a member of the Detroit City Council.

Radio One, which has a cluster of stations in Detroit, has been fighting back against the Conyers bill as an attack on black-owned radio. There’s no word yet on which local radio executives will speak against the bill in Monday’s town hall session at the Detroit City-County Building.

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council has estimated that if Conyers’ bill, H.R. 848, becomes law, more than a third of all minority owned radio stations in the United States face bankruptcy or forced sales.

RBR/TVBR observation: The artists need to be set straight on who has been denying them their financial due. Radio – black radio, white radio, whatever radio – played their music and created demand for people to buy their records. The record companies got the cash. Did they split it up in an equitable manner?