WASHINGTON, DC -- NAB issued a statement today responding to comments made by House Telecom Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (VA-9) during the NAB State Leadership Conference. During the conference, which brings roughly 500 radio and television broadcasters to Washington to meet with lawmakers on issues of critical importance to broadcasting, Chairman Boucher suggested that radio broadcasters consider negotiating with record label executives to reach an agreement on new performance fees for radio airplay.
Chairman Boucher also noted that he has not taken a position on the RIAA-backed legislation, which would levy a new fee on radio stations for music aired free to listeners.
Commenting on Chairman Boucher's statement, NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton issued the following statement:
"NAB has great respect for Chairman Boucher, but we would submit that the real negotiation should take place between the record labels and recording artists. After the record labels have renegotiated all the abusive deals they have forced on artists, they should come see us."
Today's news statement comes as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) continues to press Congress to pass legislation that would require local radio stations to pay a new fee for music aired free to listeners. Countering the RIAA-backed legislation is the Local Radio Freedom Act, (H. Con. Res. 49; S. Con. Res. 14) which opposes "any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge" on local radio stations. The Local Radio Freedom Act, introduced by Reps. Gene Green (TX-29) and Mike Conaway (TX-11) has the support of a bipartisan group of 158 House lawmakers.
Earlier this week, an identical resolution was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Blanche Lincoln (AR) and Sen. John Barrasso (WY).
"Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings," reads H. Con. Res. 49.
On numerous occasions, both record label executives and artists have recognized the promotional value of free radio airplay. Such statements include:
worth remembering that U2, you know we broke in the United States through
Boston and through radio stations like BCN and stuff like that. We depend
-- Bono, speaking with a WHDH-TV Boston news reporter, March, 2009
"I have so many friends out there. I think back over the years now, and it's amazing how much of my life has been impacted by radio people."
-- Brad Paisley, speaking during an interview with Radio Ink's Brida Connolly, February, 2009
me tell you four letters that mean a whole lot to me. Four letters that
have changed the course of my career. Four letters out of 26. W-Y-C-D."
You Radio!! 4 Grammy Awards Last Night!!!"
mainly radio, actually. I'll hear a song, very often in the car,
and buy the CD."
McCartney on where he finds new music. Entertainment Weekly, February
was homeless for about a year and I went back to singing, 'cause that's
what I grew up doing with my dad as a child. We made our money by bar-singing.
So I was looking for a place to sing, and it was my own material. And
after about a year of being homeless and doing that, a radio station played
one of my songs on the air -- a bootleg. I didn't have any demos. I wasn't
trying to get signed. But a record label heard it, and all the sudden
it was like being Cinderella. Limousines started showing up."
John Rich, Big and Rich, 'Nashville Star,' July 2008
love a strong radio hit. ... That's what our job is, to have a radio hit.
Without radio, we couldn't do what we do, but the job is to have a radio
hit that sounds unique, and like you."
Jewel, Grammy-nominated recording artist, 'Nashville Star,' July 2008
Alicia Keys, recording artist and Grammy winner, 2008 Grammy Awards, February
remains the best way to get new music into the listeners' lives."
radio is probably the most important thing for a new rock band coming
out. If you don't get yourself on the radio, then you won't draw bodies
at the clubs and you won't sell records."
'Another Animal' drummer Shannon Larkin, Drum Magazine, 2008
radio, thank you so much for being our mouthpiece. You know what we do
means nothing if it never gets played, and no one gets to hear it."
Flatts,' Vocal Group of the Year, Country Music Awards, 2007
Taylor Swift, Horizon Award (for best new artist), Country Music Awards,
have yet to see the big reaction you want to see to a hit until it goes
on the radio. I'm a big, big fan of radio."
Palmese, Executive Vice President of Promotion, RCA, 2007
has proven itself time and time again to be the biggest vehicle to expose
Ken Lane, Senior Vice President for Promotion, Island Def Jam Music Group,
is clearly the number one way that we're getting our music exposed. Nothing
else affects retail sales the way terrestrial radio does."
Biery, Senior Vice President for Promotion, Warner Bros. Records, 2005
the most important thing for a label, getting your records played."
Eddie Daye, recording artist, 2003
helped me a lot. That's the audience. I can't see them, but I know they're
there. I can't reach out and touch them with my hand, but I know they're
B.B. King, recording artist, 2002
a song's not on the radio, it'll never sell."
Mark Wright, Senior Vice President, MCA Records, 2001
play is king. They play the record, it sells. If they don't, it's dead
in the water."
Jim Mazza, President, Dreamcatcher Entertainment, 1999
am so grateful to radio. Their support has truly changed my life, and
I hope they know how appreciative I am for that."
Jo Dee Messina, recording artist, 1999
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. As the voice of more than 8,300 radio and television stations, NAB advances their interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.