The results are in. After a recent poll by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), most Americans are against a proposed royalty rate for radio airplay. The poll was conducted over the summer and published in The Wall Street Journal to emphasize the point that royalty fees are getting a bit out of hand.
The Wall Street Journal article reported that the proposed legislation “would force radio companies to pay royalties [fees] of as much as $500 million a year to record labels and artists whose music they play.” The article also stated, “any additional expenses could send [radio companies] one step closer to financial restructuring.” After being provided with such facts, individuals participating in the poll were then asked whether they would “favor or oppose the performance fee, requiring local radio stations to pay a fee for every song they play.”
The results were quite telling, as 60 percent of the poll participants strongly opposed the royalty fee, 12 percent were probable and 3 percent were leanly opposed. Radio has been a royalty-free haven, because it is known to drive music sales of popular artists. So, essentially music artists are already benefiting financially from radio airplay — the more music is played, the more money they stand to make. It’s been like this for a long, long time. Why do “the powers that be” suddenly want to change it around? Simple. It all comes down to money. With the Internet age and music sharing websites, record sales aren’t what they used to be. As a direct result, numerous recording artists and labels are coming up with every solution they can in order to pad their pockets. It used to be that all you had to do was have one hit record on the radio and your album would rise to the top of the charts. Now, one hit record results in a 99-cent purchase on ITunes instead of boosting whole album sales.
It’s a sticky situation, but the message is quite clear. The public does not agree with radio royalty fees, and firmly believe that many radio stations will end up losing money and going off the air instead. Everyone knows that taxes and fees always end up trickling down until they eventually come out of the public’s pocket. And the public is already financially strapped as it is.