Tuesday, September 21, 2021

musicFirst Coalition: Radio's Promotional Value Is A Myth

The musicFIRST Coalition Monday released survey results hoping to convince members of Congress to support HR 4130 - The American Music Fairness Act. 

The survey of 14,55 adults showed that 54% support requiring radio to pay performance fees to artists. 

That compared to 20% who are opposed and another 26% who aren’t sure. The survey also shows six in ten (62%) of those surveyed were not aware that radio did not pay for AM/FM spins. And among those interviewed, 54% said it is unfair – the rest said it was either fair (23%) or they weren’t sure (22%).

“The American people know what this is about. It’s about fairness, justice and it’s about the inequity that is in this system that is created by statute,” said former Rep. Joe Crowley, who now leads musicFirst.

In an affort to undermine the National Association of Broadcasters’ argument that broadcast radio has long had a symbiotic relationship with the record labels by promoting the music and live events of artists, the survey also asked where people discovered new music. It found one in five (21%) rely most on AM/FM.

“This entire idea of promotional value is a reason for not paying artists is a myth – times have changed,” said Crowley. “Radio is no longer the promotional tool that it was a few decades ago.”

In response to polling conducted by musicFIRST, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said in a statement:

"NAB strongly opposes a performance fee on broadcast radio, and we applaud the more than 200 bipartisan members of Congress who are standing up for their local radio stations and listeners. Not only would a performance fee upend the century-long symbiotic relationship between radio and the music industry, but it would devastate thousands of radio stations across the country.

"As musicFIRST is well aware, NAB's door remains open to continue discussions around a holistic solution to this issue that grows the partnership between the music and broadcast industries for another hundred years. It is unfortunate that the record labels' focus is on gimmicky press conferences and questionable Survey Monkey polling rather than serious conversation."

On background: Three members of the House of Representatives have added their support to a resolution opposing "any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge" on local broadcast radio stations. The Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA), which signals members of Congress's opposition to any potential legislation that imposes new performance royalties on broadcast radio stations for music airplay, now has 187 co-sponsors in the House and 22 in the Senate.

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