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. They need each other to thrive. Radio wants to entertain their listeners and artists want their voices heard.
You'd think. But certain big record labels are pushing for government policies that could hurt their biggest promotional tool local radio.
What's on the line? The ability of local radio stations to bring you the music and news you want and provide jobs for local communities.
For more than 80 years, radio stations and the recording industry have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship: free airplay for free promotion. And it works. It's a relationship that has sustained businesses on both sides and launched the careers of countless performers.
In fact, 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.
But in recent years, the record labels have found themselves struggling to adapt to the digital age. In this economic environment, the recording industry has pushed for legislation that would impose a performance tax on radio stations simply for airing and promoting artists' music.
This legislation, known as the Performance Rights Act, 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.
Sign up in the box on the right to learn more about this issue and find out what you can do to help oppose a tax on local radio stations.