Whit Adamson, President of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters agrees that music is what makes Nashville, or “Music City,” work. And he points out that radio is what makes music work, and that the Performance Rights Act could put that benefit into jeopardy. He took to the pages of The Tennessean to make his point.
“For over 80 years, radio broadcasters have had a mutually beneficial relationship: free radio airplay of music by over-the-air broadcasters, which in turn promotes record labels and artists and generates millions of dollars in music, hospitality, small-business and merchandise sales,” wrote Adamson. He pointed out that the 236M listeners radio provides to the music industry week in and week out far out-delivers any other media.
“Yet against this backdrop, the big record labels have embarked on a crusade that could cripple the financial viability of many free and local radio stations or even new artists. In an unprecedented campaign due to their broken digital recording and Internet business model, the Recording Industry Association of America is bankrolling a lobbying initiative in Congress that would change copyright law and require radio stations to pay hundreds of millions of dollars annually to RIAA member companies that are based outside the U.S.”
He continued, “The free publicity Nashville has enjoyed over the years would change if this radio fee was to become law. Thousands of jobs have been lost in the radio business during the economic down-turn; a new tax would force broadcasters to lay off thousands more. This kind of revenue loss would force many radio stations to cut back on public service and charitable activities in the communities we serve. Some radio stations that now play music will simply switch to an all-talk format — thereby avoiding the new RIAA fee. How would that benefit Nashville’s songwriters and the artists?”
Adamson concluded, “For the sake of our region and the future of music, we should not risk the viability of free and local radio stations that have been such a huge economic engine for Nashville over the decades.”