For decades, local radio stations have made stars out of unknown artists, simply by playing their music. Radio and musicians have developed a true partnership. Radio wants to entertain their listeners and artists want their voices heard. It’s a relationship that that has thrived for more than 80 years.
But certain big record labels are pushing for government policies that could hurt their biggest promotional tool – local radio.
Radio's free promotion 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, merchandising, endorsements and other and licensing.
Struggling with outdated business models, the record labels have resorted to pushing for legislation that would impose a performance fee on radio stations simply for airing and promoting artists' music.
This legislation could financially cripple local radio stations, reduce the variety of music radio stations play, and stifle new artists trying to start their careers. It could especially affect small stations, including minority-owned stations, causing them to switch to a talk-only format or shut down entirely.
Thus far, the record labels' efforts have fallen flat, with hundreds of members of Congress supporting a resolution opposing a performance tax – the Local Radio Freedom Act. Click here to view the most current list of radio champions. But even with strong congressional opposition to a performance tax, the record labels continue their fight. For the good of the music industry and free, local radio, we must work together to educate policymakers about how a performance tax would harm local radio stations, listeners and artists.