Performance tax resistance nears critical mass


The National Association of Broadcasters announced that it now counts 214 supporters for the Local Radio Freedom Act, a measure that would head off attempts to impose a performance royalty on broadcast outlets. Meanwhile, a major figure in the recording industry let the cat out of the bag – saying that radio airplay is the key to selling music.

The 214 members supporting the NAB position is just four shy of a majority, showing at the very least that a floor fight will be much closer than the 21-9 margin by which the Performance Rights Act was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee.

The Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposes “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge,” has 14 new co-sponsors, including Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Dale Kildee (D-MI), Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Brian Bilbray (R-CA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), David Price (D-NC), Ike Skelton (D-MO), Harry Teague (D-NM) and Phil Roe (R-TN).

Iconic record producer Clive Davis recently answered “5 Questions” for national newspaper USA Today. Asked if the internet was the new venue of choice on which to break new music, he said, “No. Radio is still the leading force of determining what songs and artists break through.”

RBR/TVBR observation: Civil rights groups are already working on the Senate Judiciary Committee, trying to make sure all the facts are on the table before this legislation is rushed into law. It’s not a bad idea to go ahead and lay the groundwork there, but it would be great to just head this one off in the House.