In a blistering op-ed that would have been almost unthinkable even a few years ago, Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow took aim at radio broadcaster and the fact that they do not pay performance royalties for on-air play.
"Fifteen years ago, at my first GRAMMYs as president, I remember hearing artist after artist come to the stage and thank radio in their acceptance speeches," Recording Academy head Neil Portnow writes in an op-ed in RadioInk aimed straight at U.S radio broadcasters. "This past year, not a single winner on the telecast thanked radio. This is an unhealthy rift that should be reversed."
At issue is the fact that terrestrial radio does not pay performance royalties for on-air play. "The lack of a radio performance right is the only instance in our economy where one party can use another’s intellectual property without permission or compensation," continued the Grammy head. "Every other broadcast platform in America (Internet, satellite, and cable) pays, as do radio broadcasters in every other developed country in the world. There are no arguments to support the continued exploitation of artists and use of music without any compensation to its makers."
In another jab at radio, he writes: "“This morning on my way to work, I turned on the radio. It’s a regular habit, but this morning I tried an experiment. As I arrived at our office parking lot, I stopped to ask a number of our staff members how they listened to music on their commute. While the answers varied, often by age bracket, one thing was consistent: The 20-somethings barely knew where the FM button was."