David Kirkpatrick

February 19, 2010

More recording industry shenanigans

This time it’s going after radio with a new performance tax proposal. Okay, the industry is foundering on the rocks, has alienated the bulk of its customer base under the age of twenty five and due to technological developments has forever lost its stifling stranglehold over the creative process and product distribution. That’s not to say the music industry doesn’t have a real and necessary role to play in today’s marketplace, but the old ways are gone and are not coming back. It’s time to face the future and meet the challenges of today or shut down and get out of the way for a new paradigm that can.

What is the response from the industry? More ill advised lawsuits against consumers and now an attempt to force a “performance tax” bill through Congress to punish radio, the one-time bread and butter of the music business.

From the link:

The recording industry wants to impose a performance tax that would financially hurt local radio stations, stifle new artists and harm the listening public who rely on free local radio.

Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) and John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), along with RepresentativesGene Green (D-Texas) and Michael Conaway (R-Texas), and many other members of Congress have sponsored legislation and efforts against the performance tax.  Others still need to hear your voice.

Here’s more detail from the NoPerformanceTax.org website:

For more than 80 years, radio and the recording industry have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship: free play for free promotion. And it works. It’s a relationship that has sustained businesses on both sides.

In fact, radio’s free promotion of artists translates to as much as $2.4 billion annually in music sales for record labels and artists. And this doesn’t even include the enormous revenues they receive from concerts and merchandising.

But the labels–like many businesses–are struggling in this economy. They have failed to adapt to the digital age, and find their business model is broken. And now they want to impose a fee called a performance tax on local radio stations to subsidize their losses.

A performance tax would threaten the local radio stations that communities depend on. It would financially hamstring stations, stifle new artists and harm the listening public who rely on free local radio.


In short, the money generated from the performance tax would flow out of your community and into the pockets of the major record labels – and three out of the four are foreign-owned. The record labels would like for you to think this is all about compensating the artists, but in truth the record labels would get at least 50 percent of the proceeds from a tax on local radio.


Congress has continually recognized that local radio is different from other musical platforms and should not be subject to a performance tax. Local radio is free, so everyone, regardless of income, can have access to it. Local radio also has to fulfill certain public service obligations that other platforms do not. And importantly, the free music that radio plays provides free promotion to the record labels and artists – up to $2.4 billion annually.


There are currently two bills pending in Congress that would levy a performance tax on local radio – H.R.848, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (MI-14) and S.379, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT). Your members of Congress need to hear that you strongly oppose these bills.

Additionally, anti-performance tax resolutions have been introduced in the House and Senate in support of local radio. In the Senate, Sens. Blanche Lincoln (AR) and John Barrasso (WY) introduced S. Con. Res. 14, and in the House, Reps. Gene Green (TX-29) and Mike Conaway (TX-11) introduced H. Con. Res. 49. Both are known as the Local Radio Freedom Act. Many members of Congressalready support local radio and resolutions against the performance tax. Others still need to hear your voice.

I suggest you hit the site and check all the information out for yourself, but if not, here’s a shortcut to taking some action against this ridiculous tax — Take action now!


1 Comment »

  1. […] @ 2:32 pm Here’s the auto response I received from Kay Bailey Hutchison on impending legislation that would apply a “performance tax” on every song played on the radio. Just one more bad idea from the flailing and dying music […]

    Pingback by More on radio performance tax legislation « David Kirkpatrick — February 22, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

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