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 industry. Kay Bailey was the only politician to send something other than a blanket “thanks for contacting me” response.
Thank you for contacting me regarding royalty fees for performers whose work is played on over-the-air radio, also known as performance fees. I welcome your thoughts and comments.
Current law requires free over-the-air radio stations to pay song royalties to songwriters and producers. However, unlike cable, satellite and Internet radio, over-the-air radio stations have historically been exempt from paying performance fees. This exemption recognizes both the unique role played by free over-the-air broadcasters in the communities they serve, and the fact that performers receive exposure from air play that promotes album and merchandise sales.
Recently, new mediums in broadcasting, including satellite and Internet radio, have emerged. Performers are paid for their music in these mediums, raising questions about parity and fairness. While the emergence of new broadcasting mediums has caused some to question over-the-air broadcasters’ longstanding exemption, I remain concerned about imposing royalties on them in these difficult economic times. This concern is particularly relevant to small broadcasters.
I will closely monitor this legislation as it evolves, particularly with respect to addressing the potential financial impact on the smallest broadcasters, and I will keep your views in mind. I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me on any issue that is important to you.
Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator