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?