Nancy Sinatra, daughter of the legendary Frank Sinatra and a successful recording artist in her own right, will be among the witnesses for the musicFIRST Coalition at Wednesday’s performance royalty hearing at the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. The panel is considering a bipartisan bill introduced by its Chair Howard Berman (D-CA) and his state delegation colleague Darrell Issa (R-CA) which would bring performance royalties into existence. The hearing is scheduled for 6/11/08 at 2PM Eastern. According to musicFIRST, others testifying on its behalf include Dan Navarro, Kristine W, Sugarhill Gang, and Whodini. The full witness list has not yet been made public.
Nancy Sinatra’s effort is being touted as a continuation of that of her father, who on 12/12/88 wrote a letter to fellow musicians, saying, “We are of the opinion that legislation has not been enacted in part because recording artists have not been aware of the problem, while others with vested interests have lobbied heavily for the defeat of such legislation. We believe that with a unified effort from fellow recording artists, we may be able to pass such legislation.”
Meanwhile, the NAB has been rounding up a posse of legislators, also from both sides of the aisle, who recognize that airplay equals free promotion for musicians, arguing that trouble with the long-standing symbiotic relationship between the broadcasting and recording industries only seems to flare up when the recording industry is undergoing hard times.
RBR/TVBR observation: You can have an argument whether or not the various business practices lumped under the heading of “payola” should be illegal or not. But you can’t argue that many many record companies were more than willing to pay cash and or valuable premiums to get their music on the air. That proves the value of exposure over broadcast outlets beyond any shadow of doubt.
We suspect that if a royalty package makes it into law and is structured so that it makes it that much harder for broadcasters to break even, stations will resort more and more to music-free formats, or will become home shopping stations, selling advertising to recording companies 24/7. The new standard spot length will be the plus or minus 3:00, the average length of a popular recorded song.