It is expected that the record labels may have enough support in the two Judiciary Committees to pass through the onerous Performance Rights Act, but the NAB is already signing up support to head off the measure on the floor. In fact, a lengthy and extremely bipartisan roster of Reps, 110 strong, has signed on to counterproposal called The Local Radio Freedom Act. Its co-sponsors are Gene Green (D-TX) and Mike Conaway (R-TX), and its twin sister is expected to surface in the Senate soon.
Here is the key language: "Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings.”
NAB EVP Dennis Wharton commented, "NAB applauds Reps. Green, Conaway and their House colleagues for their commitment to ensuring that America’s 235 million weekly radio listeners have continued access to free, local radio. The undeniable fact is that RIAA’s plea for a record label bailout will put thousands of radio jobs at risk and threaten the economic viability of a recording artist’s greatest promotional asset."
RBR/TVBR observation: Maybe its time for some broadcast attorneys to draft a standard contract so we can give labels and legislators a peek at one possible future. It will be a rate card, showing how much it will cost to air an advertisement for a song. Labels can pay to run a commercial about their latest release – or they can barter: Free promotion over the radio in exchange for free airplay. Gee – that last bit sounds just like the way it’s been for decades. Maybe it isn’t such a bad system after all.