Thursday, February 7, 2008

Truth, Ignorance or Bluster?


Last Night On The Grammy's did you hear what Neil Portnow, the President/CEO of The Recording Academy had to say?

"We advocate for the rights of our music community in Washington , D.C. , and all across the country. This year, we will fight to pass legislation to once and for all ensure that, just like in every other developed country in the world, all music creators are compensated for their performances when played on traditional radio."

Seems like we will be hearing more and more on this subject. Stay tuned.

From Inside Radio:

Label chief Edgar Bronfman doesn’t seem to think radio’s much help. His company has this week’s #1 Top 40 song and last year’s biggest-selling CD, but Warner Music Group chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman doesn’t think radio had much to do with it. He says “In today’s interactive environment, terrestrial radio no longer has the dominant promotional role for music sales that it once had.” So he’s talking up a move in Congress to do away with radio’s royalty exemption. Bronfman says “The legislation’s goal is simple — requiring those who profit from the use of music to pay for its use. We look forward to working to achieve the same fair standard in the U.S. that exists around the world.” On a call with investors yesterday Bronfman noted radio pays royalties in all but five countries: China, Iran, North Korea, Rwanda and the United States. Warner Music, the third-biggest record label, saw its CD sales drop 28% in the fourth quarter as the company skidded to a loss. Lobbyists expect the royalty fight between labels and radio to drag on for years.

Truth, Ignorance or Bluster? You make the call. I will say this: what better way to improve your bottom line than by trying to collect royalty payments from radio stations-the medium that uses your product to the tune of millions of spins every year.

Do we need to prove our worth? What would happen if stations (and it would have to be all stations) for a week or even a day stopped player their product? We'd better be prepared for the answer to that question. Whatever that answer might be.

On the one hand, how dare the labels kick their long time marketing partner in the teeth. After all, they have had free access to the airwaves all these years and sold a lot of records because of the promotion and airplay. No doubt radio has had lots of great music to play and it has served us very well too. But, on the other hand there are far more places to discover music today and while I still believe we continue to hold on to a dominant music discovery position one has to wonder, just a little, if Bronfman's comments are made looking through his crystal ball into the future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bronfman's comments are right on. It never made sense for radio to pay composers for use of their work while giving the recording artists nothing. This inequity has been resolved in the internet realm, and it's long past time for terrestrial radio to follow suit.