Stop the Royalty Bandwagon by changing the discussion


Try this one on for size regarding the performance royalty issue. How about if we in radio just say yes, hell yes– we’ll pay some sort of Royalty Fee to the artists whose songs we play.  But we’ll do that only if in exchange Congress allows us to unilaterally cancel our music licensing agreements with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.  Because those agreements date back to the time when radio stations didn’t play records, they employed musicians to play music that was composed by others.  It was the right solution for that time because the composers wrote the music that was played directly by the house bands.  In essence, in that time, the performers (radio station house bands) paid the composers..

Now that no radio station has even one musician in its employ, we should pay performers…..but the PERFORMERS SHOULD THEN BE THE ONES TO PAY THE COMPOSERS.  Ol Bono wouldn’t be having his song played on the radio if the composer hadn’t written it, so ol Bono ought to pay the composer.  The relationship between the songwriter and the radio performance, a direct one in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, no longer exists today, yet we’re still paying as if it does.  Our relationship is with the performers for sure….BUT…it is the performer that has inherited the direct relationship with the composer.

This is America.  No one is required to pay for the same product twice.  In days gone by, our grandparents went to the farmer and bought eggs and milk.  They paid the farmer.  Now, we go to the fancy grocery store to buy our eggs and milk.  We pay the grocery store, we even get to choose which grocery store we want to go into………..we’re no longer required to also send a check to the farmer.

I’m really surprised no one has suggested this specific tact before.  By doing so, you switch the argument from radio vs. performers to performers vs. composers.  Radio isn’t free.  We pay composers.  But music industry: make your choice.  Do we pay the grocery store (performers) or the farmer (composers) because we sure as hell shouldn’t have to pay twice for the same dozen eggs.

Jay Meyers
President and CEO
Broadcast Management & Technology
859 653 4630
[email protected]