Bill Would Link Performance Tax and Television Law

Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) this week reintroduced legislation that would tie the issues of television retransmission consent and a radio performance tax with a new FM chip twist.  The so-called Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act would prevent a television broadcaster from receiving retransmission fees from pay-TV platforms if that broadcaster also owns a radio station that does not pay a performance royalty.  In addition, in a change from last year’s version, this bill would also prevent the FCC from requiring activation of FM chips in smartphones. 

NRB opposes a performance tax and has repeatedly noted that musicians receive free airplay by radio, boosting recognition and sales of their work, while others pay for airtime.  Responding to legislation introduced last week by Rep. Blackburn and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that would impose such a new royalty, Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, stated, “We need to continue to grow the reach of Christian music. Unfortunately, imposing a new performance tax on radio stations is counterproductive.” Instead, NRB supports the Local Radio Freedom Act (H.Con.Res.17/S.Con.Res.4), which already has the bipartisan support of 166 Representatives and 13 Senators.

NRB has also been vocal in calling for expanded availability of broadcast radio services in mobile phones.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: April 24, 2015

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