Thursday, April 6, 2017

PROMOTE Act Would Let Artists Pull Music Off Radio

Record labels would be able to yank their music off U.S. radio airwaves under federal legislation introduced on Wednesday, reports The Tennessean.

That means hits by Taylor Swift, Drake, Adele or Miranda Lambert would be taken down if their record labels choose to do so. The bill was filed by U.S. Reps. Darrell Issa, R-California, and Ted Deutch, D-Florida.

It's a controversial proposal. Current U.S. copyright law gives broadcast companies the right to play any song they like, but only music publishers and songwriters get paid.

Rep. Darrell Issa
Record labels and artists have been pushing for years to have a performance royalty created for terrestrial radio. Last week, a bi-partisan Fair Play Fair Pay Act was reintroduced to create the performance royalty.

Broadcast companies have argued that there is substantial promotional value when they play an artist's songs, talk about their upcoming album releases and nearby concert performances. Traditional radio is still the No. 1 form of music discovery in many genres, according to experts.

Issa and Deutch's bill gives record labels the right to decide whether the promotional value outweighs the fact they don't get paid. Internet radio and streaming companies like Pandora, Apple Music and Spotify pay record labels when their songs are used. The bill has been dubbed the PROMOTE Act, which stands for Performance Royalty Owners of Music Opportunity To Earn Act.

“The PROMOTE Act calls the bluff of both sides in the debate over performance rights," Issa said. "The terrestrial stations playing these works without compensating the artists argue that airtime provides exposure and promotional value, while the artists argue the status quo allows radio stations to profit on artists' performances without providing any due compensation.

"Our bill puts forward a workable solution that would allow those who would otherwise be paid a performance right to opt out of allowing broadcasters to play their music if they feel they’re not being appropriately compensated. This is a win-win that helps solve this decades' long problem in a way that’s fair to both parties."

Rep. Ted Deutch
Deutch said it it is unfair that artists haven't been able to choose if their songs are played on the radio.

"It should be the artist’s choice whether to offer their music for free in exchange for promotional play, or to instead opt out of the unpaid use of their music," Deutch said. "I am proud to join my colleague Rep. Issa in introducing the PROMOTE Act to give recording artists more control over their work.”

 In response to performance royalty legislation introduced today by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) that would require radio stations to obtain permission from record labels to play their songs, the following statement may be attributed to NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton:

“NAB has significant concerns with this legislation that would upend the music licensing framework that currently enables broadcasters to serve local communities across the country, and would result in less music being played on the radio to the detriment of listeners and artists. NAB thanks the almost 200 Members of Congress who support the Local Radio Freedom Act and recognize the tremendous benefits of free, promotional airplay for musicians and labels."

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