Royalties killed the radio star? A new bill aims to charge radio stations music royalties

radio stations music royalty bill old
If Jay-Z’s Tidal music service showed us anything, it’s that artists and musicians want a bigger piece of the pie when it comes to royalty payouts. The push for that bigger slice of pie continues with the recent introduction of a music royalty bill, reported by the Hill.

Announced by Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), the Fair Play Fair Pay Act targets AM and FM radio stations. Currently, radio stations can play music without having to pay any royalties to musicians and labels, but under the bill, radio stations would be required to do so.

In addition, satellite radio companies will have to pay royalties at market rates. According to Nadler, the bill rectifies what he considers an “antiquated and broken” system, one that “shortchanges artists and hamstrings Internet radio companies like Pandora who must compete against a rival paying subsidized rates.”

The bill would also close a loophole that currently allows Internet radio companies, such as Pandora and Rdio, to avoid paying royalties to musicians who created songs before 1972.

There are specific exceptions made for college radio stations and radio stations whose revenues total south of $1 million. Under the bill, those stations would pay $500 a year, while college radio stations would pay $100 a year.

Unsurprisingly, broadcasters have come out to criticize the bill. The National Association of Broadcasters argued that radio still gives musicians the exposure they want and, in the case of lesser-known musicians, need.

“It is disappointing that this bill retreads years-old policy positions rather than advancing the copyright dialogue through policies that help grow the entire music ecosystem,” said the group last week.

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