In late September, just before the federal government shutdown, Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) introduced the latest iteration of performance tax legislation in his so-called Free Market Royalty Act (H.R.3219). NRB immediately declared, “Performance tax legislation would be a crushing blow to many Christian radio stations,” and stated that this bill was “fundamentally flawed as it rests on the faulty premise that all the value in radio airplay of music flows to broadcasters – an assumption refuted by reason and experience.”
Musicians receive free airplay by radio, boosting recognition and sales of their work. However, advertisers, sponsors, and program syndicators pay for placement on radio because of the substantive benefits they receive from over-the-air (OTA) carriage. The demonstrable value of radio airtime is ignored by many advocates of a new OTA performance tax.
While Rep. Watt’s bill has not yet gathered any co-sponsors, it is notable that strength for the NRB-supported Local Radio Freedom Act (H.Con.Res.16/S.Con.Res.6), which opposes a performance tax, continues to grow. Six Congressmen - Reps. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Ralph Hall (R-TX), David Scott (D-GA), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Randy Weber (R-TX) - added their names to the bill this week, bringing the total support to 177 Members of the House and 12 Senators.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: October 25, 2013