Broadcast radio lobbyists and a bipartisan coalition of 124 members House members and 5 senators are backing the latest edition of the Local Radio Freedom Act, which would continue to limit the royalties that radio stations pay on recordings.
To put this in context, the United States is one of a handful of countries including North Korea and Iran, who do not require radio stations to pay any performance royalties to the artists who made the music that makes up the bulk for their programming.
Similar bills were filed in 2015 and 2107, and each argued that radio stations "provide free publicity and promotion to the recording industry and performers," so why should they should they have to pay "any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge" which would cause "severe economic hardship."
"America's hometown broadcasters are deeply grateful for this broad, bipartisan display of congressional support for the Local Radio Freedom Act," said National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) chief Gordon Smith in a statement. "Decade after decade, free radio airplay has propelled the careers of countless performing artists and generated hundreds of millions in revenue for the record labels."
Record label and musicians see things differently.
"Here we go again," said musicFIRST Coalition spokesman Trevor Francis in a statement. "The NAB will dedicate months and spend millions accumulating names on a motion that falsely protects 'local radio' and that will never become law. Meanwhile, the radio marketplace continues to change for NAB’s members, and not for the better. The NAB may want to focus less on lobbying in D.C. and more on how radio can provide music fans the innovation they want in today’s digital world."