Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Freedom Isn't Free (Except to Clear Channel)

I've been noticing huge advertising on local AM radio lately that sniffs suspiciously of corporate money masquerading as grass roots efforts to oppose the "performance tax" on music played heretofore for free. It could be that mom and pop stations and college radio are joining in to fight the power on this, but all I've heard is crap similar to the spots the health care lobby ran on nationalized single payer government insurance in 1993. That is, radio vignettes portraying Joe and Jane Blow at the supper table railing against "foreign" record companies milking regular guys for "more taxes."

I found some net chat that raised interesting points:

In the opening salvo of what could be a contentious fight in Congress, the music industry this week introduced a bill to close what it calls a loophole in U.S. copyright law that exempts over-the- air broadcasters from paying performers. Like webcasters, satellite radio providers and cable companies, the musicians argue, radio stations should pay performers a fee for the music they broadcast.

"Today marks the beginning of the end for corporate radio's loophole," Jennifer Bendall, executive director of musicFirst, a lobbying group for performers, said in unveiling the legislation this week. "It's unfair, unjustified and un-American that artists and musicians are paid absolutely nothing when their recordings are played on AM and FM radio. Music is their work, their livelihood. They deserve fair pay for air play."

But the National Assn. of Broadcasters calls the idea a "performance tax," arguing that the music industry is just trying to use the issue to recover from the disastrous impact of the iPod, which has encouraged music sharing and online downloading and sent sales of CDS plummeting. And, note broadcasters, they already pay $500 million a year to compensate the songwriters and music publishers who write the music.

"With the iPod, music fans no longer have to shell out 20 bucks for an album that only has one good song," said Kristopher Jones of the National Assn. of Broadcasters. "It's 99 cents. Apparently, the record labels have decided that bankrupting their number one promotional vehicle – free radio airplay – is a better business strategy than adapting to technology."

The Record Industry Assn. of America acknowledges that the music industry is definitely in a period of re-invention but argues that digital revenues are actually increasing. "The music industry is reinventing itself by transitioning from a CD-based model to a performance-based model," said the RIAAs Cara Duckworth. "A performance right for AM/FM radio just makes sense. The landscape has changed, and the time is ripe."

Yes, the music industry wants more money to replace sagging revenue lost to file swapping and music pirating. Yes, the radio industry wants free music to increase their larder, even though the practice of "pay to play" have stayed the same since the days of Alan Freed, which has brought us the world of crap populated by the worst of the worst; everything from Brittany to Briana. All the changes to the status quo the last few years have benefited artists not at all. I say, let it burn, baby - let the motherfucker burn.


At 9:22 PM , Blogger judge chief charly hoarse said...

I'm thinking an ancient model: I want to be a busker. Working on my list.

At 2:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Hey
My, My
Rock and Roll
Has Up and Died!


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