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[Wired] Recording Industry Decries AM-FM Broadcasting as 'A Form of Piracy' - Page 4

post #31 of 45
I've always thought this was a particularly bizarre aspect of radio. I wrote my history thesis on the RIAA and its role in the development of the American music industry and read over a lot of the Congressional hearings about this particular issue when it was originally decided back in the 1920s-1950s. Basically, the songwriters get paid royalties whenever songs are played on the radio but the performers/musicians do not. An example: you hear "Hit Me Baby, One More Time" on the radio. The person who wrote that song (obviously not Britney Spears) gets paid. Britney gets nothing. Whereas if you have an artist like, say, Dave Matthews Band, who writes his own music, when "Crash" gets played on the radio, he gets paid the royalty as he's the songwriter. If the whole band is listed as having written the song, they all get paid; if it's just one person, only the one person gets paid. A bit of a bizarre system, but that's how it's set up right now.

Given the way recording contracts are structured nowadays, with artists getting advances on album sales and receiving a lot of their other income from touring and merchandise sales, it's difficult to take any one of these particular issues (royalties from albums, royalties from radio, etc.) in a vacuum without considering musicians' other revenue sources. Needless to say, royalties (or lack thereof) from radio affect different musicians different based on (a) the structure of their contracts and (b) whether or not they write their own music, co-write their own music, etc. I can definitely see why this point is being raised as it has come up countless times before, but given the current climate in the recording industry it comes off as a bit of a cash grab. However, I'm hard pressed to see this as an example of "ZOMG TEH RIAA IS EVEL" because the record companies aren't the ones who would benefit here--the musicians would. That being said, paying separate royalties to the songwriter and the musician is double-dipping in a lot of cases where they are one and the same.

A better structure, in my opinion, would be to have the record company pay songwriters to license their songs if the company is going to have another band perform it, then have the band receive royalties (however defined) from the radio. The songwriter, in this case, wouldn't receive royalties from radio play. Royalties for the artist could be defined in monetary terms (i.e. 2 cents per play--not the actual going rate, just a number I'm throwing out there to illustrate) or it could be determined in barter terms (in the case where radio play is considered promotion and thus playing the song by itself is consideration to the artist because of the exposure it gives them). The songwriter could be paid a base rate when the song is licensed and then get a bonus from the record company based on the success of the song (as measured in the number of albums, singles, downloads, etc. it sells, as that is where the record company makes its money).

Now I'm left wondering why the RIAA would be lobbying for this, and the only conclusion I'm coming to is that if musicians get royalties from radio play, that means the record companies can use that as leverage when negotiating contracts to get a bigger slice of the sales pie (or to reduce musicians' slice of that pie). It would shift the burden of compensating musicians for their work to the broadcasters, away from record companies. Since record companies are seeing sharply declining revenues whereas broadcasters are not in such a dire situation, the RIAA may see this as a way to help record companies survive and to rebuild their revenues. I can't help but see this as a short-term solution, as the overall decline in sales may not be reversible, and that is ultimately the source of record companies' revenues. It's a stop-gap solution and nothing more.

Sorry for that mini-dissertation. The Cliff's Notes: the RIAA wants to shift the burden of paying musicians for recorded music from themselves (through royalties on record sales) to broadcasters (through royalties on songs played on the radio). This is only a big deal because royalties are currently only paid to songwriters and not to musicians. A lot of pop musicians don't write their own songs, hence the disconnect. Ultimately, this will have a minimal direct effect on consumers but will have a large impact on the radio broadcasting industry.
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post #32 of 45
Actually.. Radio Stations do pay royalties... something along the line of 9c \\ song played.
post #33 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Odyn View Post
Actually.. Radio Stations do pay royalties... something along the line of 9c song played.
Right, but only to songwriters, not to musicians. The two aren't always the same. For a lot of the bands I personally listen to, the musicians write the songs (hence I'd see this as paying twice for the same thing), but a fair amount of the higher-grossing pop artists don't actually write their own music.

Not sure where you got 9c/song from, but I'd be curious to see what the actual current rate is.
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post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by foolsgold View Post
I've always thought this was a particularly bizarre aspect of radio. I wrote my history thesis on the RIAA and its role in the development of the American music industry and read over a lot of the Congressional hearings about this particular issue when it was originally decided back in the 1920s-1950s. Basically, the songwriters get paid royalties whenever songs are played on the radio but the performers/musicians do not. An example: you hear "Hit Me Baby, One More Time" on the radio. The person who wrote that song (obviously not Britney Spears) gets paid. Britney gets nothing. Whereas if you have an artist like, say, Dave Matthews Band, who writes his own music, when "Crash" gets played on the radio, he gets paid the royalty as he's the songwriter. If the whole band is listed as having written the song, they all get paid; if it's just one person, only the one person gets paid. A bit of a bizarre system, but that's how it's set up right now.

...
+ Rep on this piece. Very nice writing.
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post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by foolsgold View Post
I've always thought this was a particularly bizarre aspect of radio.


I didn't want to quote your whole post again.

Wow, that was a lot of good info that I didn't know-- +rep for that.

Hmm...makes the situation a bit more sticky.
    
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post #36 of 45
That's rubbbish. They can only play the song the artists allow them to.
And ofcourse it's promoting new music. Record indusrties wouldn't find to too funny if the radio stopped playing any new artists
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post #37 of 45
radio promotes tons of bands, they NEED the radio to get their artists off the ground. This is bull****. Someone needs to ring their necks and put them in their place. Its like a six hundred pound gorilla got loose from the zoo and no one wants to put it down.
Edited by Opeth07 - 6/24/08 at 3:31pm
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post #38 of 45
  1. Recording Industry Decrees AM-FM Broadcasting as 'A Form of Piracy'
  2. If I hear a song on the radio, and I like it, I'll go and buy the album. Radio does promote the music industry.
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post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Licht View Post
I think you mean GREED.
Sure why not, I was going more for a blood effect, i mean they'd wanna charge us for our own blood too. They'd probably say "Oh...you're breathing oxygen produced by tree's on our property..."
post #40 of 45
When you first get your start in the music industry you would kill for a chance to have your music aired on the radio for free just to be heard. The radio is providing a service to artists who should be paying them for the best form of advirtisement in the world (when it comes to music). Being able to hear it before you buy it is priceless. These guys are just freaking out because of all the money being lost to internet pirates and they're trying to find a scapegoat and a way to make more money.
    
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