As every musician and artist knows, you don’t get paid for radio airplay in the US. What, you say? How can that be?
It’s true, the songwriters get paid but the artists do not. This has been true from the very beginning of radio in the first few years of the 20th century when a strong radio lobby was able to beat up on what was then a very small recorded music market, and exempt themselves from paying royalties for the playback of recorded music.
Every day that goes by these days it seems like another artist dies without ever seeing that compensation. Lesley Gore was the most recent one, but last year we saw Joe Cocker, Ian McLagan, Jack Bruce, many others. These artists had the double deduction of recording before 1972, which is the year that the feds began protecting sound recordings with copyright except–you guessed it–for any compensation with the songs are performed on radio.
The National Association of Broadcasters is the super-powerful lobby for the broadcast industry that is pushing legislation in the Washington cesspool called “the Local Radio Fairness Act” a nonbinding House Resolution that it’s easy for unsuspecting Congressmen to sign up to, but it all comes down to the same thing–big radio and the special interests carving out a special exemption for themselves.
One of the best critiques of this crony capitalism I’ve ever seen comes from the always thoughtful Neil Stevens in Red State in his post “Oppose the Local Radio Fairness Act“.
The future of the GOP is in anti-cronyist shifts in policy that favor free markets, not specific companies or industries. This is one important way we can demonstrate to the American people that small government is for the little guy, and big government is for the big, well-connected guy.
One way to do this is to defeat the Local Radio Freedom Act, which is a massive giveaway to big, well-connected media companies, at the expense of their competitors as well as individual musical performers.
This all comes down to respecting copyright. Sometimes I get accused of opposing copyright. I don’t. I support it. And yet it’s the DC establishment, not me, that has created a massive copyright carve-out for one specific industry: radio stations.
Make sure you read this post, it’s critical to understanding how the National Association of Broadcasters and the special interests are trying to use the RINO leverage once again to quietly carve out a benefit for themselves.