Radio is facing a new tax that would end AM and FM stations’ exemption from paying copyright royalty fees to performers of the songs that grace their airwaves. Congress wants to impose a new performance fee that equates to a tax that will cost broadcasters billions of dollars. This new taxation will decrease airplay while increasing commercials and force radio stations to close their doors or change formats.
The NAB has launched NoPerformanceTax.org to beef up its campaign to defeat the bill, which is championed by music industry interests like the Recording Industry Association of America, the American Federation of Musicians, and the Recording Academy.
“Every week, radio airplay reaches 235 million Americans, promoting both new and legacy artists and generating more than a billion dollars in CD and download sales for record labels annually. By contrast, artists routinely sue their record labels for cheating them out of royalty money,” an NAB spokesman said in a press release. “We welcome an honest debate over which side has been a better friend to recording artists: America’s hometown radio stations or foreign-owned record labels.” An official with the MusicFirst Coalition, which supports the bill, said: “No amount of advertising can right a wrong. Corporate radio earns billions without compensating the artists and musicians who bring music to life and listeners ears to the radio dial. Satellite radio, Internet radio and cable music stations pay a fair performance royalty, as so radio stations throughout the world.”