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Music Media The Almighty Buck

RIAA Seeks Royalties From Radio 555

Posted by kdawson
from the deja-vu-all-over-again dept.
SierraPete writes "First it was Napster; then it was Internet radio; then it was little girls, grandmothers, and dead people. But now our friends at the RIAA are going decidedly low-tech. The LA Times reports that the RIAA wants royalties from radio stations. 70 years ago Congress exempted radio stations from paying royalties to performers and labels because radio helps sell music. But since the labels that make up the RIAA are not getting the cash they desire through sales of CDs, and since Internet and satellite broadcasters are forced to cough up cash to their racket, now the RIAA wants terrestrial radio to pay up as well."
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RIAA Seeks Royalties From Radio

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  • by tehwebguy (860335) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:04AM (#19219311) Homepage
    I truly hope they get what they want, it seems like the only thing that could possibly take down Clear Channel.

    This would basically ruin both CC and the RIAA. Without the radio telling the masses what to like, CD sales are doomed.
    • by aussie_a (778472) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:08AM (#19219357) Journal
      Actually the radio will be telling people who to like. It will be people they can afford (most likely free people in many cases). Sounds like a win for me if the RIAA gets what they want.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by empaler (130732)

        Actually the radio will be telling people who to like. It will be people they can afford (most likely free people in many cases). Sounds like a win for me if the RIAA gets what they want.
        Actually, that could just imply that the ones who make it affordable for radio stations make it less affordable to the consumer. That gives more airtime and more profit...
      • by Knight Thrasher (766792) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:27AM (#19219553) Journal
        What about MTV? Arn't they telling people what music to like?

        No? What? What's "reality TV" got to do with music television? Nothing?... =V

      • by twitter (104583) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:35AM (#19219647) Homepage Journal

        You won't be able to give your music away in the future [slashdot.org]. Giving the MAFIAA a new revenue stream only gives them more money to do more harm. The only place to stop them is at the voting booth.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by networkBoy (774728)
          or the shooting range...
      • Payola (Score:5, Insightful)

        by *weasel (174362) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @08:43AM (#19220399)

        The RIAA already pays the radio stations to tell people what to like. They have all but admitted to manipulating playlists via bribes because they acknowledge that radio play == sales. So I'm not entirely sure how they are now going to argue that radio play is suddenly detrimental. Particularly not when they're still actively engaged in it. (though now via a corporate shell-game to side-step the FCC)

        My guess, is that the RIAAs is trying to put an end to payola. If the stations legally 'owe' the RIAA money for broadcasting, then they can negotiate airplay without having to write checks. They'll just grant the broadcasters performance rights 'coupons' for certain artists/tracks. Nothing really changes, the labels cut down some of the cost-of-doing business.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hedwards (940851)
          It'll be interesting to see how ASCAP reacts to this development. The argument that the RIAA has any sort of write to royalties on performances is tenuous at best. Radio stations already pay licensing fees as do restaurants, elevator companies and others that play recorded music. Expecting them to pay another set of licensing fees to cover the incompetent management of the CD industry is egregious.

          Of course, this is the RIAA so egregious is the silent e.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wansu (846)

        This would basically ruin both CC and the RIAA.

      Yeah. Let them eat their seed corn. Gobble it up boys.
       
    • by mibalzonya (1072126) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:24AM (#19219535)
      It may also mean less music. Instead of the same 8 songs. We will now have the same six songs.
    • by dotfile (536191) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:45AM (#19219741)
      You'd love to think that, but it's not what would happen. Let's follow the money for a moment...

      Clear Channel and the other huge companies could and would pay without even flinching, and just jack up their ad rates to cover the increased costs (and then some, since they can now blame RIAA for pretty much ANY amount of rate increase). Big Media wins, makes more money, gets bigger.

      Advertisers now have Big Media sucking up a larger chunk of their advertising budgets, so they have to make cuts somewhere. Since the smaller, independent stations (are there any left?) have to pay RIAA too, their costs go up. With smaller audience shares, they are now even less cost effective than before. Advertisers pull ads from small stations to pay for the ads on big stations, small stations are now in an even bigger hurt than before.

      Because the FCC has been spreading its legs for media companies for so long - and Congress is too clueless to notice or care -- Big Media is now able to suck up even more smaller stations as their financial position becomes untenable. Big Media wins again, makes even MORE money, gets even bigger. Talk radio and NPR survive as the only alternative to what Clear Channel, Journal Broadcast and the other handful of winners want you to hear.

      This would be a huge long term win for the handful of huge media companies that now control most of the market anyway. Unfortunately, I suspect it would be a Pyrrhic vistory. They've alreay driven millions to satellite radio, and this would probably drive nails into terrestrial broadcast radio's coffin at an even faster rate.

      Once the sattelite channels are devoting as much time to advertising as they are to music, we're right back to where we started - buy now you're PAYING to listen to it, which works out far better for the media companies. You're not naieve enough to think THAT won't happen, are you?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jZnat (793348)

        Once the sattelite channels are devoting as much time to advertising as they are to music, we're right back to where we started - buy now you're PAYING to listen to it, which works out far better for the media companies. You're not naieve enough to think THAT won't happen, are you?

        Considering how many people dropped XM over the suspension of Opie and Anthony, I can safely say that I wouldn't be alone in dropping satellite radio due to ads on the music channels. XM and Sirius aren't just competition with each other and terresticle radio, but also with iPods and other media jukeboxes. You don't have ads on your own MP3 player, and you control the music on there, so these broadcasters can't really turn to commercials. Of course, they could increase the subscription rate, and I'd rat

    • by seanonymous (964897) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @11:37AM (#19223233)
      "Mary Wilson, who with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard formed the original Supremes, said the exemption was unfair and forced older musicians to continue touring to pay their bills."

      Oh no! You mean those poor musicians have to keep working, just like the rest of us!? What is this world coming to!?

      Does an older assembly line worker at Ford continue to get paid every time someone drives a classic Mustang? Does an Amish quilt maker get a nickel every time someone gets cold and covers up? Of course not! Then what makes musicians so special?

      Idiots. Get back to work!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:04AM (#19219313)
    "Mary Wilson, who with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard formed the original Supremes, said the exemption was unfair and forced older musicians to continue touring to pay their bills."

    Yeah because they should be allowed to sit around all day earning money just because they are so great.
    • by weorthe (666189) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:20AM (#19219485)
      Remember kids, listening to the radio is STEALING!!!
    • by The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:31AM (#19219599)
      If the radio stations are making money by playing the Supremes' music, I can see why she might say that.
    • by 605dave (722736) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:37AM (#19219683) Homepage
      That's funny, because the radio station owners are sitting around making money because of how great she was...
      • by honkycat (249849) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @08:09AM (#19219955) Homepage Journal
        Right, it's not like they're continuing to provide a service, pay their power bills, employ staff to keep the transmitters working, etc. They're just collecting a paycheck by trampling on her rights. Those millions she already made were not nearly enough compensation for those few hours of music she put on records. Why should she have to continue to be productive to put food on the table? Why can't she just sit and reap the rewards of her creativity the same way the rest of us do?

        Oh... wait...
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by teh_chrizzle (963897)

          Those millions she already made were not nearly enough compensation for those few hours of music she put on records.

          what the hell is wrong with you? do you think that cars, mansions, designer clothes, and heroin pays for itself? what about rehab? what about agent fees? what about lawyers and accountants? these are all very expensive things that help starts live their expensive lives. who's going to pay for all of that stuff?

          you think that because you go to work every day that everyone has to work

      • by *weasel (174362) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @08:23AM (#19220139)
        it's totally unfair that the guy who bought the house I built sold it for a profit a few years later.
        I mean, I should totally get a cut of absolutely any profit derived from my work at any point in the future!

        Otherwise I'd have to plan for retirement or continue building houses.
        And that doesn't sound fair. Not while people are out there profitting off my work.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CyberSnyder (8122)
        Of course if the RIAA were to collest money from the radio stations, they would gladly give the artists their fair share of the royalties. Sure.
    • by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2@eaRASPrthshod.co.uk minus berry> on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @08:17AM (#19220061)
      Absolutely. Every time I turn on a hot tap, I have to pay a fee to the plumber who installed my combi-boiler. Every time I switch on my computer, I have to pay a fee to the electrician who wired up my house. Every time I read a book, I have to pay a fee to the author. Every time my ex-girlfriend places something on the shelves I put up for her, she has to pay a fee to me.

      Oh, wait, that's bollocks. Sorry. You do the work once, you get paid once -- iff you're lucky. That's how it works in The Real World.
  • Pipe Dream (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mercedes308 (832423) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:04AM (#19219317)
    Pfff, it won't fly. The radio industry is too strong collectively for this to work. Plus also how could they even get close to having this accepted internationally?
    • Re:Pipe Dream (Score:5, Informative)

      by mbone (558574) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:06AM (#19219335)
      It may or may not work here, but in most of the world radio pays a performance right, so it is very well accepted internationally.
    • Re:Pipe Dream (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Andy_R (114137) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:11AM (#19219389) Homepage Journal
      Well we've always had this here in Britain, and it seems to work. If the RIAA do manage to pass this in the US, I think their main problem will be explaining to artists why they don't get any of the new revenue.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by drsquare (530038)

        Well we've always had this here in Britain, and it seems to work.
        The same British radio that plays the same half dozen songs over and over again?
    • Pfff, it won't fly. The radio industry is too strong collectively for this to work

      Strange. Someone who worked in radio once told me that radio stations kept records of what songs they played in order to pay royalties to ASCAP and BMI (a penny or two a song, I think). So I believe this is still the case. I always wondered if the RIAA would try to get a share, too.

      Anyway, if radio stations can't avoid paying ASCAP and BMI then how successful would they be in fighting off the RIAA?

  • Excellent! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Algorithmnast (1105517) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:06AM (#19219327)
    One of 2 things will probably happen:

        1) RIAA offends the courts by trying to reverse Congress and fails, and loses some steam and (more) public credibility (with those who think they have any).

        2) RIAA bribes the right people and that law gets reversed, which then costs our country its music-playing radio stations and the music industry loses the majority of its sales.

    I'm failing to see a down side....
    • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by montyzooooma (853414) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:13AM (#19219395)
      "2) RIAA bribes the right people and that law gets reversed, which then costs our country its music-playing radio stations and the music industry loses the majority of its sales."

      As somebody already pointed out the rest of the world gets by paying a fee for radio play. What this WILL mean is that you'll end up with the bland "selection" of national radio that other Western countries have. I was always surprised at how diverse the US music industry was but I didn't realise your radio stations got a free ride. Now it makes sense and I'm sure this would mean less exposure for niche artistes. Gotta love an industry that's trying to hammer nails in its own coffin.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mr2001 (90979)

        What this WILL mean is that you'll end up with the bland "selection" of national radio that other Western countries have. I was always surprised at how diverse the US music industry was but I didn't realise your radio stations got a free ride.

        We already have a bland "selection" of mostly-national radio. The stations are nominally "local", but by some miraculous coincidence, they all play the same music and the DJs all sound the same. I pay $12.95 a month so I don't have to listen to our "diverse" FM radio.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by the_humeister (922869)

        What this WILL mean is that you'll end up with the bland "selection" of national radio that other Western countries have.


        We already have that. Practically all rock, adult contemporary, etc. stations play the same thing...
    • by symes (835608)
      I have to agree - but what really interests me is how ably the RIAA are undermining the whole point of their paltry existence. The ability for young bands to produce their own music is moving along at a fair pace - customers are more able to peruse alternatives music sources online... surely it is just a question of time before the middleman's (and thuggish sidekick the RIAA) become irrelevant? Oh, it's already happening [bbc.co.uk]. So for the RIAA to alienate music listeners (customers) further beggars belief.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zappepcs (820751)
      I think you missed an option:

      3) The RIAA pulls this one off. Member labels get fewer artists signing with them so they can participate in the new wave of music production, allowing them to garner air time on net radio stations. Additionally net radio stations outside the U.S. will continue to grow like some kind of pirate radio. The world (and especially the U.S.) will be exposed to artists that they never would have been exposed to via the current radio setup.

      In this situation, the RIAA loses, corporate ra
  • by irexe (567524) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:06AM (#19219331)
    I'd like to see all radio stations play only independent music for one day. See how the RIAA likes that..
  • by ZiakII (829432) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:07AM (#19219343)
    I'm just hoping maybe.... the judges will know what the hell radio is and realize and understand exactly what the RIAA is doing and not get confused/persuaded other ways by some techno-speak in the past.
    • the judges will know what the hell radio is and realize and understand exactly what the RIAA is doing

      Right. The radio is like a series of tubes with trucks running through them...not to be confused with that interweb thingy which is in your computer. Music can run through those tubes, too, but it's a different kind of tube with a different type of truck. Not like one is Ford and the other is Chevy kind of different. Really different. So you got your tubes and there's music running through the tubes

  • by dbolger (161340) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:09AM (#19219359) Homepage
    ...when reality and The Onion collide: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/27696 [theonion.com]
    • by Splab (574204)
      Me too, just went over it to see if the times perhaps lifted the story from the onion, but sadly it looks to be the real deal.
    • by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:23AM (#19219523)

      Sometimes it's just downright hilarious.

      The Onion, February 2004 [theonion.com]:

      Stop. I just had a stroke of genius. Are you ready? Open your mouth, baby birds, cause Mama's about to drop you one sweet, fat nightcrawler. Here she comes: Put another aloe strip on that fucker, too. That's right. Five blades, two strips, and make the second one lather. You heard me--the second strip lathers. It's a whole new way to think about shaving. Don't question it. Don't say a word. Just key the music, and call the chorus girls, because we're on the edge--the razor's edge--and I feel like dancing.

      CNN, September 2005 [cnn.com]:

      Gillette has escalated the razor wars yet again, unveiling a new line of razors on Wednesday with five blades and a lubricating strip on both the front and back.

  • by RenegadeTempest (696396) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:09AM (#19219361)

    This is great news. There are only like 2 big radio conglomerates out there. They typically replay the same crap that the labels spoon feed them over and over again. Now, let's say they have to PAY to play that crap. Wouldn't it make sense to maybe play local stuff that doesn't cost a dime? Maybe it makes sense to play those albums that are not covered by the RIAA?

    The best part is that if this is instituted it must be instituted across the board. They can't give radio stations breaks on a specific song over another. If they do, then this is payola. You can't pay radio stations to play your song. A discount on royalties is the same as paying them. Maybe we might hear some variety on the radio.

    Again, another strategy not thought out to the logical conclusion.

    • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:23AM (#19219507) Homepage
      Nice idea in theory but in practice I just don't think it will work like that. Here in the UK Radio Stations already pay the record companies for what they play and you will find that most of them do exactly what you describe above, i.e play the same crap the labels spoon feed them over and over again.

      There are maybe a couple of hours each week when it possible to hear some decent music on the radio here but other than that you may as well forget it.
    • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) * on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:29AM (#19219579) Journal
      I agree, it's going to backfire big time.

      A long time ago my father (a construction worker) told me why you didn't see many houses made out of brick in California. Seems the bricklayer's union became way, way too successful and powerful, demanding more and more pay up to the point where people couldn't afford brick construction any more and moved to frame and plasterboard houses with tar shingle roofs (this was back in the early 50's). Basically they priced themselves out of the market, but they couldn't roll back their demands due to the nature of the organisation, and their leaders chose economic death over political death as an organisation because people are funny that way.

      As Hawkeye once said, the operation was a success but the patient died.

      Funny thing though, the frame houses seemed to flex a bit but the brick houses tended to rubble during earthquakes, lovely Aesopian message there.

      Off-topic? No, just a very extended metaphor. The RIAA will eventually have absolute control over a commodity that absolutely nobody will buy. And when they start annoying Congressmen more than their lobbyists are worth by stepping outside the bounds of their anointed playing field, they're going to get slapped down hard. Nobody has a right to make money, the market has to be there, and RIAA is killing the goose.

      • Great metaphor, but California doesn't have many brick houses because we have earthquakes and masonry construction is far more dangerous in those cases.

        Wood "gives" and flexes during minor earthquakes, often with little or no damage. If the house "breaks" wood is relatively light, you will likely walk away from the disaster. Brick cracks if the house is even slightly flexed and a brick wall falling on you is ill-advised.

        I'm not even sure traditional masonry is allowable in new construction here.
    • by ribuck (943217) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:36AM (#19219665) Homepage
      Unfortunately, it won't backfire. The same thing happened in 1969/1970 in Australia. The main radio stations stopped playing the big-label records that they would have had to start paying for. Instead, they played music from the independent labels, who were happy to not demand a royalty.

      It lasted about six weeks before the radio stations capitulated. Their listeners wanted music from the big names.
  • Sounds fair to me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grimJester (890090) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:09AM (#19219363)
    From TFA:

    Mary Wilson, who with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard formed the original Supremes, said the exemption was unfair and forced older musicians to continue touring to pay their bills.

    Yes, it's unfair that people are forced to work to pay their bills. There should be free money for all with no incentive to work. In a perfect world, congress should force everyone to pay record companies money, so record companies could distribute the wealth in whatever way they see fit.
  • Awww, diddums (Score:5, Insightful)

    by larien (5608) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:09AM (#19219365) Homepage Journal

    Mary Wilson, who with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard formed the original Supremes, said the exemption was unfair and forced older musicians to continue touring to pay their bills.
    So you have to keep working to get money? What a novel concept. No-one else in the population has to work until retirement age, do they?

    "The creation of music is suffering because of declining sales," said RIAA Chief Executive Mitch Bainwol.
    The implication is that people aren't writing music because they're not getting enough money and no-one will ever want to be in a band because of it. I'll take that with a large pinch of salt. However, the next line really clarifies his position:

    "We clearly have a more difficult time tolerating gaps in revenues that should be there."
    Translation: we're not making enough money.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The implication is that people aren't writing music because they're not getting enough money and no-one will ever want to be in a band because of it. I'll take that with a large pinch of salt. However, the next line really clarifies his position:

      Really? Wow. That's strange. I personally know at least 10 people who are all either part of various bands, work solo, or collaborate with several different bands and artists who write, perform and record music and, for the most part, don't make enough money from

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Goldarn (922750)

      So you have to keep working to get money? What a novel concept. No-one else in the population has to work until retirement age, do they?
      What makes you think you get to stop working when you hit retirement age, slacker? Lazy people like you are the reason we can't privatize social security!
  • Congress (Score:2, Funny)

    by rlp (11898)
    It all depends on how corrupt Congress is ... we're in deep trouble!
  • Double standard (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aussie_a (778472) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:11AM (#19219387) Journal
    So wait, the law acknowledges that radio infringing on the rights of musicians is okay because it encourages people to buy the music. However illegally downloading it doesn't do this? WTF? How are the two different. I understand the RIAA's logic here. If one has a particular rule then the other should as well. Now having said that, I think the RIAA and I differ on which rule should be moved to which system ;)
  • by starX (306011) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:15AM (#19219441) Homepage
    Is that Clear Channel has lots of expensive lawyers, too. Also, even if this does work, it would be like taking a sawed off shotgun to their one remaining foot. When are these guys going to figure out that their business model just doesn't work anymore and will likely never work again?
    • by CmdrGravy (645153)
      Yes, the RIAA clearly have no idea that Clear Channel have a lot of lawyers. Why, I expect they don't even know who Clear Channel are. I expect they're simply doing this for the sheer hell of it, who needs research ?

      You should mail them right away and let them know what a big mistake they're about to make. I'm sure they will be *very* pleased.
  • Silly RIAA... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beerdini (1051422) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:18AM (#19219457)
    They are attacking their own advertisers now. Most people purchase music after hearing it, which they usually hear it on the radio. Lets fast forward 5 years pretending this is successful. Radio stations are now put out of business because of lawsuits or refusal to pay the RIAA's ransom so as CD sales continue to fall; that will leave the RIAA scratching their heads wondering why, when they just killed their most wide spread advertising tool.

    Whats next? Suing stores that play music inside for shoppers?
  • Idiots (Score:4, Interesting)

    by aysa (452184) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:21AM (#19219497)
    This will be the last nail in their coffins. I do not need to explain why, it is abvious for any person with a little sence.
    Of course, RIAA has bacome senceless long ago and its own worse enemy.

    Like the old fable of the scorpion and the frog.

    A scorpion asks a frog for help crossing a river. Intimidated by the scorpion's prominent stinger, the frog demurs.
    ``Don't be scared,'' the scorpion says. ``If something happens to you, I'll drown.'' Moved by this logic, the frog puts the scorpion on his back and wades into the river. Half way across, the scorpion stings the frog.

    The dying frog croaks, ``How could you -- you know that you'll drown?''
    ``It's my nature,'' gasps the sinking scorpion.

    Sting the radios, RIAA, and sink alone. They will start promoting indie labels.
  • It's not like the radio stations aren't paying money to play music right now - they are. They pay money to the composer and the publisher.

    All they're asking is that the artist and label get paid, too. Satellite radio and Internet radio have to pay the performance royalty. Why is broadcast getting the special treatment?
    • Why is broadcast getting the special treatment?

      Because broadcast spectrum was once a scarce, expensive and regulated resource owned by the public. The rules were made to insure that resource was well used and include the forced licensing terms you mention for the composer. The original goal of copyright law is to distribute culture and advance the state of the art and those rules can be interpreted that way. If the goal had been to support publishers and artists, they would be paid a stipend without fu

  • This will be the end of music on radio. Period. AM radio is barely a blip on the screen relegated to church broadcasts and a few EIB partners now that 'talk' radio is moving to FM. There is already quite a track record of success using the 'talk' radio format. So when the RIAA does this, the radio stations I don't think will waste a lot of money fighting it. They'll just pull the plug and go to a 100% 'talk' radio programming schedule. I'm mixed about this. On the one I have zero tolerance for windbaggery a
  • by zuki (845560) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:30AM (#19219587) Journal
    ....and although I am usually in a particularly bad disposition against most anything the RIAA has been doing recently.

    I think that at the very least there is something to be said for this. If anything, the radio stations are racking up
    income hand over fist from all of those insipid commercials we are forced to listen to, and it would only seem fair
    that besides the songwriters and publishers (who are justly being compensated), the owners of the sound recordings
    also get a piece of that income, which wouldn't affect talk radio, news and sports stations, but mostly for those stations
    who have a 'music format', said music being the main reason they are able to remain in business.

    This exemption business was something that was passed more than a half-century ago, originally allowed to support the massive investment
    buildout in infrastructure which radio had to go through, long since recouped, and the fact that it still stands today shows the colossal power
    of the lobby behind the stations/conglomerates such as Clear Channel.

    This makes the RIAA's position that Internet broadcasters have to pay a bit more sensible, although totally irrelevant to the reality of the Internet.
    Being that records are not selling that much anymore, and that people still listen to terrestrial radio quite a bit, it would make sense that some
    of the income stream commercial radio is deriving from music should be used to give people an incentive to create more of the same material
    the stations are using to earn income with.

    I really don't see what's far-fetched or ludicrous about this; there should however be exemptions for not-for-profit, college radios, and low-power transmitters.

    Z.
  • by hackstraw (262471) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:32AM (#19219609)
    From the summary: But since the labels that make up the RIAA are not getting the cash they desire through sales of CDs, and since Internet and satellite broadcasters are forced to cough up cash to their racket.

    I mean seriously. Are these people hungry? Are they homeless? Are they unable to pay their bills? Is their mansion really too small?

    I ran into a former owner of a CD store in a college town a few years ago, and she said that she had to close down because CDs were not selling, so she sold the business, and started another one. She said explicitly that downloads hurt her bottom line, but oh well, times change, and she had to change with the times.

    I mean, how many steam engine engineers are trying to sue these new fangled gasoline, oil, diesel, electric, fuel cell, etc engineers? Or their customers, or their kids, or dead people?

    To me, this is some kind of psychological or socioligical problem that is not properly addressed as such, and the bottom line is that _everybody_ is losing because of it. The real problem is that the government is an accessory to their psychological/sociological problems, because I guess they have the same issues.

    Why isn't the government or anybody concerned about real issues like national debt, health care (oxymoron) reform, energy costs, housing costs, and the stuff that actually affects real people that are real problems. I mean, if nobody bought a 1970s technology like a CD is ever again, would it really be a big deal?

    Is this kind of sociopathy just "normal" when a society is collapsing on itself? Does anybody know what the real issues are here? This is a control/powertrip thing that makes no sense.

  • Wonderful! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:35AM (#19219635) Journal
    I haven't heard a better idea in a long time.

    RIAA has to fight it out with Clear Channel, which definitely has the resources to fight them.

    This will finally get public attention on copyright, royalties, and how aggressively the RIAA has been acting for the past several years. Most people don't know much about internet radio, but they know plenty about the noise box that keeps them entertained as they drive to and from work.

    Then, if the RIAA are successful, they'll be making unsigned and non-RIAA artists who will happily sign royalty-free contracts, far more attractive to radio stations. More radio play, means more sales, which means real competition with RIAA.

    I see a huge upside, and very little downside, for the public.
  • First off let me say I think it is reasonable for an artist (or a label) to want compensation for music played on the radio. BUT why does the RIAA fucking monopoly have to get in there all the time? Why should the RIAA / Congress decide how much airplay is worth to the artist or the radio station? Why not create a market where each artist / label could decide the price of each song? Then if you want publicity you could set the price at zero. If you think you are doing the radio station a favour letting them

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:36AM (#19219669) Journal
    It's sad that after so many predictions by the RIAA of the demise of commercial radio...

    The recordable tape cassette? People will just record what they want and never listen, it will be the END OF RADIO!
    DAT? People will just record what they want and never listen, it will be the END OF RADIO!
    Burnable CDs? People will just record what they want and never listen, it will be the END OF RADIO!
    MP3s over the internet? People will just record what they want and never listen, it will be the END OF RADIO!
    ...the ones ACTUALLY killing radio are the RIAA themselves. Sad, predictable, and ironic all at once.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:42AM (#19219715) Homepage Journal
    The RIAA's member labels already collect royalties for songs played on the radio. Radio is not exempt from those royalties - in fact, they usually make up the majority of the income a recording produces, now that songs get played over and over, forever, in our pop/classic corporate "rock" broadcast culture.

    Those "performance" royalties are collected by whichever agency represents an artist who wrote the songs: BMI, ASCAP are the biggest, the remaining <10% of artists are represented by a couple of "big little" agencies, and then a bunch of really little ones. But those agencies are at least as corrupt as the record labels which collect sales income, then find every excuse to count "expenses" before returning the minimum (if any) share of "profit" to the artists who made the record. Very little of the performance royalty is paid to the artists, and the return to them is pretty random.

    This formula is also worked against the rounding effect of the sampling for determining royalty payments: either one "representative" hour a day, or one "representative" day a week is usually used, which of course means only the most popular artists have a chance of registering in a sample and getting paid. Since the most popular artists get played so much more (the same goddamn song, year after year, too), only the biggest artists get cut in. To make it even worse, the distribution of top artists in the "random" sample is used to divide the royalty collected from radio stations which pay a subscription fee as if they're playing every artist. So in effect those biggest artists are collecting the share of the littler artists who do get played, but who get rounded down. Those "rarities" and "from the vault's back wall" bands they're playing to keep you listening to the classic rock station so it sounds "fresh", with occasional "new" (30 year old) songs, all get lost in the rounding down of the sampling process. So their most valuable songs return the least share of the royalties to their artists.

    And of course the BMI/ASCAP/etc collection agencies just underreport plays and percentages to the artists. I have friends in bands which registered half their artists with BMI, the other half with ASCAP, to see which paid better. For some bands BMI paid their half more, for other bands ASCAP paid their half more, sometimes 5-10x different, when they should all have paid the same. Then, since artists are flaky and move around & disappear on benders (or OD), the agencies often collect money they "don't know how to pay", so they just keep it. This also happens whenever there's the slightest possibility that a contract disagreement or unknown might allow different interpretations of how much should go in the check.

    All of those scams are also fed back into the radio station's decicisions of how much to play (and promote) which songs. Since there's money attached, money gets spent on those deciders to influence which songs are played when. And to influence which "random" hour/day is picked to report who gets how much.

    So now the RIAA wants to get in on the act. And of course they'll charge (mostly independent) streaming radio station even more than they charge (nearly all corporate) broadcast radio stations. Right when the Copyright Office has just rocketed already insane streaming royalties through the roof [savenetradio.org], threatening the entire noncommercial and small webcaster industry segments.

    Broadcast radio already sucks worse than ever. Streaming was the only hope for people to escape the corporate noose in realtime and archived media delivery. Right as streaming was starting to get a hold in video, presenting an on-demand P2P (or communities small to large) world of all media, both kinds of royalties got jacked up to destroy the free publishers. Right as cameraphones also have the bandwidth (and caches) to play streaming radio, and even upload "news from the street", the media mainstream corporate got yet another life extension from the government, killing
  • Indirect Payola (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sam_handelman (519767) <skh2003@@@columbia...edu> on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:44AM (#19219729) Homepage Journal
    My guess would be that the RIAA is actually trying to *control* what radio stations play, since that annoying "law enforcement" stuff is getting in the way of payola.

      A major record label can create a list of songs they want played, and offer special royalty-free licenses to broadcast them as a promotion. Independent artists, bands that the RIAA's members just doesn't feel like promoting for whatever commercial reason, etc., won't have the beureucratic infrastructure to *offer* such an arrangement, even if they wished to do so.

      And, of course, if they don't like particular *stations*, for whatever reason, they can refuse to cut deals with them.

      It's the same story as with internet radio - it's all about control.
  • by simong (32944) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:44AM (#19219733) Homepage
    which is a concept that the RIAA seems not to understand. Radio and TV airplay are what drives sales and in turn what attracts listeners to listen to the radio. If radio and TV thought for a while and bypassed the RIAA, music radio would probably survive, but for how long would the RIAA survive without this free promotion? Let them cut off their nose and see how many copies the new Madonna LP sells without the radio.
  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:49AM (#19219773)
    If the excemption is passed, *all* radio stations will be more like college radio. The record companies will have to give the little know stuff away just to get air time. This could concievably level the playing field so that small bands could actually compete with "Madonna".

    Radio Stations will adapt, and only play the expensive stuff during peak times when it will get them the most listens for their advertisers. During most of the day, and the evening hours they'll be able to play the free stuff from independent artists. It might even mean that stations will have to hire an actual program director to seek out local artists that appeal to locals.

    Like any change, some stations won't be able to adapt and will wither and die, but there will be a bunch of kids with a vision to take their place. Imagine a station that only played music licensed by a creative commons license that allowed unlimited radio play.
  • by phrostie (121428) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:50AM (#19219779)
    so after they kill radio and there is no way for people to hear the new songs i guess they will be attaching the undrground/indie music scene. after all it must be their fault that no one buys any new music.
  • by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:55AM (#19219823)
    should pay radio stations for playing their music. After all, the radio stations are providing a service in advertising a lot of crappy but popular bands that wouldn't otherwise be popular.

    -b.

  • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @08:06AM (#19219921) Homepage
    Does this remind anyone of how copyright law gets legislated?

    "Hey, you Internet radio people! The normal radio people are paying $$. You should pay $$$$ because it's New and Different and it can be copied all over the place. And now we're getting a law passed for it."
    "Okay, okay, here you go."
    "Hey, normal radio people! Internet radio people are paying $$$$. You guys should be paying $$$$$$, I mean we can't even measure how many people you reach! And now we're getting a law passed for it."
    "Okay, okay, here you go."
    "Hey, Internet radio people! Normal radio people pay $$$$$$, why are you only paying $$$$?"
  • by The_REAL_DZA (731082) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @08:21AM (#19220119)
    From the riaa (they don't deserve capitals) home office deep in side the Twilight Zone, the top ten upcoming attempted revenue sources/potential targets for their harassment:

    • 10. Marching bands
    • 9. Wedding singers
    • 8. Kindergarten classes (they see a veritable MINT in The Hokey Pokey alone!)
    • 7. "Hold-Music"
    • 6. "Elevator-Music"
    • 5. Doorbells (esp. the kind like at the Clampett mansion on The Beverly Hillbillies)
    • 4. Ambulance sirens (their lawyers are nostalgic about chasing them anyway...)
    • 3. Organ grinders
    • 2. Merry-go-rounds
    And the #1 next target for their evil attentions:
    • 1. Jingles you get stuck in your head on the way to work and hum the same three bars of all day long (not that that ever happens to me, but a pox on The Astelins on that stupid antihistimine commercial!!!)
  • by swschrad (312009) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @08:55AM (#19220609) Homepage Journal
    yes, indeed, they do have blanket BMI and ASCAP licenses to allow them to play recorded music. they don't have to log the songs and pay by play, but there is a pool of broadcast money that the agencies divvy up. kind of like Macy's had better have their blanket license, or the Tone Police can come in and take them by the lawyers for the background music.

    kind of like you can take out a blanket license for your website, go see bmi.com for details.

    what congress did in the copyright law in the 30s was write a law that, in one section, required the music folks to license their music for broadcast and other public purposes. not create a free ride.
  • by ericrost (1049312) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @08:56AM (#19220627) Homepage Journal
    They already pay fees to play this music. Ever heard of ASCAP and BMI? That's why indie radio stations can't play commercial artists. Radio stations already pay to play, and now the RIAA wants royalties on top of licensing fees?

    What's the difference, someone point it out to me, please!
  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:14AM (#19220909) Homepage
    But since the labels that make up the RIAA are not getting the cash they desire ...

    Uhm... they'll never get what they desire. They desire "all of it" + 1.

    In this world where "success" is measured by growth and accelleration, a culture of cannibalism. If you have read [or heard] "From Good to Great" you would understand that good is the enemy of great, not a step below. It's that mentality that really seems to be causing this chaotic and carnivorous meltdown in business and culture.

    For me, in my mind, I think it's perfectly apparent that there are limits to one's ability to accellerate. There are limits to growth capacity. In both cases, when limits are exceeded, bad things happen. We live in a finite world with finite reasources. If "success" is measured by how something approaches something "infinite" I'd have to say there's a flaw in the logic.
  • by seanyboy (587819) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:14AM (#19220911)
    Given the amount of support given from the National Assn. of Broadcasters to Internet radio stations over royalty payments (ermm, none), I'm pretty happy for Radio stations to start paying royalties.

    To paraphrase:
    Hey, First they came for the music file sharers and you did nothing.
    And then they went for Internet Radio Stations and still you did nothing.
    And then they got the Satellite broadcasters and you didn't do anything then.
    And now they're coming for you.

    The radio stations can complain as much as they like, but in this situation, I can't be fucking bothered.
  • Missing the point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CodeShark (17400) <ellsworthpc@yaGI ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:15AM (#19220935) Homepage
    Sure, music stations play a lot of RIAA related songs, and currently many stations are owned by one entity (Clear Channel). But there are still many small stations that realistically can't afford to dish out money to the RIAA that also provide a lot better news coverage and more musical variety (including local talent) than the Clear Channel/RIAA dominated stations.


    Unless we consider this a "freedom of expression" versus "corporate interests" battle for control of a major block of frequency ranges, we all lose because if the RIAA wins (i.e. the mammoth music production companies such as EMI, Sony, etc.) ), the little guys automatically lose, and we get more of the corporate fodder-crap music, etc. and NO outlets for true expression.

  • by airship (242862) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @10:15AM (#19221955) Homepage
    Commercial music was once one of the great joys of my life. I loved mainstream rock'n'roll, high-profile jazz artists, famous classical artists; in fact, I loved just about everything except country. I spent a lot of money on vinyl, then tape, then CDs, often re-buying the same music when a new format came along. You wouldn't believe how much I've spent over the years.

    I loved Napster and Kazaa when they came along because they allowed me to sample a lot of music I wouldn't have heard otherwise. When I found something I liked, I'd go out and buy a CD. You know, to 'support the band'. Only it turns out the bands didn't get much (if any) of the money, anyway; it went to the record companies and stopped there. Didn't matter, because the RIAA shut the download sites down. No more music sampling for me.

    Then the RIAA went on a rampage and started dragging grannies and gradeschoolers into court. That's when I stopped buying music. I just quit completely. I haven't bought a new CD in over four years.

    I began listening to Internet-streamed radio and loved it. Then the RIAA began trying to shut that down. Now they're going after commercial radio.

    Well, screw them. I'm done. No more commercial, big-record-company music for me. The RIAA can kiss my shiny metal ass.

    In the process of listening to streaming music, I've discovered some great independent music. I don't need the craptactular garbage the record companies dish out anymore. Especially not if they're going to try to fine me or send me to jail if I don't listen to it on their terms.

    Screw them. I hope they all starve, and their children, too.

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