Ever since Napster was invented music completely changed. Since then, every facet of music has changed. For example, musician isn’t looking to get a record contract, a majority of them are looking to stay independent and evolve their fans. Album sales have decreased but single and digital sales have hit record numbers. Fewer artists are looking to place music on radio but looking to place online. Because of this when artist sign a deal the record label are looking to get in all of the action. But there is one congress woman looking to get the label and the artist more action when the music is played on radio or online. Check out the article below to find out more about a upcoming battle over music royalties as seen on nytimes.com
Congressman Proposes New Rules for Music Royalties
By BEN SISARIO
The music industry is gearing up for yet another fight over one of its most intractable issues: radio royalties. Only this time, it involves the online world as well.
On Monday, Representative Melvin L. Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, introduced the Free Market Royalty Act, a bill that would let record companies and performing artists collect royalties when their songs are played on the radio. It would also change the licensing process for both broadcast radio and online services that approximate radio, like Pandora, establishing a market for these services to negotiate rates with the rights holders.
Broadcasters in the United States pay only songwriters and music publishers; for nearly a century, they have argued that the promotional value an artist receives from having a song played on the radio is remuneration enough. Repeated efforts by the music industry have failed to establish such a royalty on the radio, and while laws in the 1990s created it online, Web services complain that they have been burdened with a cost not shared by terrestrial radio.
Mr. Watt’s bill would establish a performance right for AM and FM radio. In an ambitious move, it would also eliminate the compulsory licensing process that lets services like Pandora and Sirius XM circumvent labels by paying a rate set by federal statute. Instead, under the system proposed by Mr. Watt’s bill, radio and online outlets alike would have to negotiate for rights through a market administered by SoundExchange, a nonprofit agency, giving labels and artists the right of refusal.
(The bill would not apply to on-demand digital services like Spotify and Rdio, which usually negotiate licenses directly with record companies and publishers.)
The bill still faces the same political obstacles that have stifled previous efforts. Music groups praised it; Neil Portnow, the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, portrayed it as something of a chess move. “After years of the radio lobby claiming they want the free market to resolve the royalty issue,” Mr. Portnow said in a statement, “Mr. Watt has granted their wish.”
The National Association of Broadcasters, the radio industry’s lobbying outlet, reiterated its longstanding opposition, calling the royalty a “performance tax” and saying that 183 members of Congress had supported its preferred bill, the Local Radio Freedom Act, a nonbinding resolution against “any new performance fee, tax, royalty or other charge” on radio stations.