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Stop Lying - There Is No Performace Tax
Only the U.S., China, Iran and North Korea do not pay performers for radio airplay
By Allen Johnston, The Music Specialist
(more articles from this author)
2010-06-07
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If you are a musical artist anywhere in the world and you are looking for radio airplay within the United States of America be prepared to get ripped off. Performers are paid in over 30 countries, for radio airplay. Only the U.S., China, Iran and North Korea do not pay performers for radio airplay. And because these countries do not pay performance royalties, than there is no reciprocal agreement available between countries for International artists to be paid for their musical performances.

If we look at this in just an Urban light, we do not totally understand the complete significance of these actions. Surely labels like Stax, Motown, Philly International and other Urban based massive sellers would immediately gain revenue from the many diverse recordings they have currently playing on International radio and throughout the United States on oldie and contemporary formats utilizing pass hits to maintain an audience, but there is a even greater wealth of Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Gospel and Classical performances by people worldwide that is being totally under looked and not mentioned.

Within the United States Urban radio continues to be the most syndicated music format. Effectively limiting local voices and local issues, Black adults are 25 times more likely to hear syndication than Whites. Thus creating a situation where radio has eliminated the messengers and information it was originally created to deliver.

Radio One, the nation’s largest African American broadcaster has cut staff and 401k benefits for staffers, while awarding CEO Alfred Liggins a 10 million dollar bonus. This was based on the assumption that radio revenues were sinking and that the company could not continue to pay the staff at the assigned wages.

Radio InSights - Harker Research-Confronting Radio's Challenges in the 21st century, has announced that happy days are here again. The latest revenue predictions are out, and they are up. In March, BIA/Kelsey forecasted a 1.5% increase for 2010, and 2-4% gains over the next few years. Their prediction came right after a 1% gain in radio revenue was announced for January. Barclays Capital's team of analysts is now even more optimistic. They think revenue may increase 7.4% for the year. Their prediction came right after a 6% gain in radio revenue for February.

Once again we are hearing the lament that the Performance Act HR 848 is a TAX against the radio stations, which will limit the amount of musical airplay, public service announcements and drive advertising rates up. All these are LIES being sent directly to the unsuspecting public so that radio station owners can make more money off of a sub standard product that is destroying our collective communities.

The Obama Administration is backing the Performance Rights Act, which would require terrestrial radio stations to pay royalties to record labels when they play the labels' songs. Under current US law, radio stations pay royalties to music publishers and writers, but -- unlike in much of the world -- not to owners of sound recordings. In a letter to PRA backer and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Commerce Department General Counsel Cameron Kerry (Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) brother) said US government support for a public performance right in sound recordings dates back to 1978. The bill has been approved by the House and Senate Judiciary Committees and is awaiting floor action in both bodies.

Radio consistently makes millions from the recording industry, requiring Free promotions, Free product and Free performances that get charged back to the artist bottom line. Every format in this country has a summer jam, a hoot nanny, a blues bash, a spring fling, a fall extravaganza or similar promotion where artists are required to perform for reduced fee or free to accommodate the radio station that has played or WILL play their music. This is not a separate promotional concept but has been around for years. In fact stations have created different co-ventures with artists where either the radio stations sales departments get a percentage of the ticket sales for reduced and in some cases free advertising, or a main announcer at the station brings the act in for a concert and the station backs the event with additional advertising through a "favored" current nightclub account while getting additional revenue in the back door.

Reparations are needed from United States radio stations. Radio within the United States has eaten off the backs of performers for too many years without any respect or revenue sharing. Instead of a Performance Tax LIE you nay sayers should start looking at what you owe the musical community for your past regressions. Not ONE radio station is clean in this account.


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