Music Industry Lobbying for Performance Tax

Some 250 music industry advocates fanned out across Capitol Hill this week to urge Members of Congress to impose a new royalty fee framework on broadcasters. Headlined by the participation of musicians including Smokey Robinson, Dee Snider, and Ed Roland, the participants in “Grammys on the Hill” lobbied for several bills, including the so-called Fair Play Fair Pay Act (H. R. 1733). 

In an op-ed, Daryl Friedman, Chief Advocacy & Industry Relations Officer of the Recording Academy, said, “Our plan is to drive home a simple message: Regardless of changes in delivery platforms, music is a valuable commodity whose creators deserve fair compensation.” However, NRB continues to point out that value in music being broadcasted over-the-air is far from a one-way street. Indeed, artists receive free airplay by radio, boosting recognition and sales of their work, while others pay for airtime. NRB contends that a new performance tax burden on Christian broadcasters is unwarranted and would be counterproductive for Christian music. 

Happily, a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives are on record against a new performance tax as cosponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act (H.Con.Res.17/S.Con.Res.4). That legislation, which NRB supports, opposes “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.”

On another note related to music license royalties, next Wednesday the Senate Rules & Administration Committee, chaired by Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), will hold a hearing on the nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden to be the next Librarian of Congress, a post with authority over the U.S. Copyright Office. More information, including a live web stream, is available here.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: April 15, 2016

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