In 1964 we built the first 24 input to Scully ½ inch 4-track that we we’re aware of in Florida. Our microphones were Telefunkens like you see Frank Sinatra singing into on some of his album covers. I also owned a record company and music publishing operation. Been there, done that.
David Oxenford in his new BLOG tells about Sound Exchange having 28 million dollars they collected and don’t know what to do with it all. Meanwhile the heads of Sound Exchange make $300,000.00 a year plus benefits. I have 25,000 hours behind the microphone as Talk Host or DJ. I have in the past provided information to the Feds about scams targeted at seniors. Two groups went to jail.
This situation sickens me. The big offshore record companies funded a group MUSIC FIRST and then SOUND EXCHANGE to essentially get more money from their library of songs recorded over the years. If you play BOOM BOOM BOOM by John Lee Hooker you have to pay to play what I bought back in 1963 then for 89 cents. Now we are told that the poor musicians need more payment. At my studio we paid the American Federation of Musicians scale for each 3 hours and paid into their retirement fund. Depending on the deals they could have gotten a piece of sales money or whatever. However professional musicians get a pension and social security.
My Doctor is a Jam Up guitar man. I do not pay him royalties for saving my life. I do not pay royalties to construction people or people who worked at my film lab or production company. Lenny Dee, Elvis, Roy Orbison, Bert Kampfert are all dead but SE still collects royalties. After 3 years I am told they can just keep the money and send it on to the record companies. Ask Music First and Sound Exchange for their latest IRS FORM 990 which I did and get out your puke bag. Al Capone could not have figured a better scam. Now here are my findings:
1. Foreign owned record companies funded MUSIC FIRST to change US LAW as UNREGISTERED FOREIGN AGENTS. Illegal.
2. Their new laws put many start-ups out of business like mine because I could not afford to buy new automation equipment and software nor pay royalties to play records I owned for 50 years. That’s EX POST FACTO.
3. The US Supreme Court LUCAS DECISION said that unelected Boards could not make new law. Yet the Copyright Royalty Board has done just that. Further, the “RULES” meaning LAWS put me out of business. I have a giant 33 and 45 library of several thousand songs in the pop and easy-listening category. I planned two internet radio stations: One for Pop and the other Easy Listening. Thus if I play the CD of LUSH MOODS by JACKIE GLEASON who is long dead Sound Exchange wants money. For whom? And what did they do to earn more money after I already paid to buy the album?
4. When I was a DJ at WYNR 1390 Chicago in 63/64 the record pluggers were constantly in touch. Other firms wanted to pay for mentions on my radio show at WMCA, New York or my later network of 350 stations plus my 30 minute daily TV show on about 50 independent TV stations and 4 small networks of that era: World Harvest, America One, Cornerstone and Outdoor Channel circa 1995.
5. It has been told to me by several in the know that Sound Exchange can keep unclaimed funds after 3 years. For a time they had a 100 page list on their website and I printed it all out. I rolled with laughter as this group will never find all the musicians of one-hit wonders or even those who paid to become a “star.” One noted music attorney stated that they did not know who was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
6. I see this as a violation of the EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE of the 14th Amendment. Are musicians more important than Brain Surgeons, Doctors, Dentists, Construction people, Store Clerks? Offshore companies unregistered as agents changed our laws. I have provided the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission with my work. Already a question has arisen that this is restraint of trade and an illegal monopoly. Stay tuned. It seems I am the only person who cares about broadcasters as I used to own stations. The NAB wants to make a deal with SE. Why? This reminds me of a “protection racket.” Al Capone lives on.
7. No slur intended but when Tony Bennett and Willie Nelson testified before Congress wanting more money I wondered if they furnished a copy of their financial net worth? RADIO MADE THEM STARS without us they would be singing in a roadside beer joint. NO? Take the time to travel and listen to bands that have great talent but will never get a break they deserve because of Sound Exchange and rules MUSIC FIRST made the COPYRIGHT BOARD empower. I would not spin an unknown. Especially now!
–Chuck Harder, [email protected]
Chuck founded the first 24/7 full service network with news, sports, national weather in Tampa: Sun Radio. He’s also the author of a new book on Amazon.com: Will We Ever Learn?