WASHINGTON, DC -- The National Association of Broadcasters has placed a series of anti-performance tax advertisements in the Washington D.C. transit system's Capitol South metro station, located two blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building. Commuters entering and exiting the subway system through the Capitol Hill station will see 45 advertisements promoting free, local radio and opposing an effort led by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to levy a new fee on radio stations for music aired free to listeners.
The advertisements are part of a recently launched marketing campaign and direct America's 235 million weekly radio listeners to visit NoPerformanceTax.org to learn more about the issue. Last week, NAB unveiled a new radio advertisement opposing the performance tax effort.
"Every week, radio airplay reaches 235 million Americans, promoting both new and legacy artists and generating more than a billion dollars in CD and download sales for record labels annually. By contrast, artists routinely sue their record labels for cheating them out of royalty money," said NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton. "We welcome an honest debate over which side has been a better friend to recording artists: America's hometown radio stations or foreign-owned record labels."
The ads point to noteworthy statistics about radio and highlight several quotes from record label executives and recording artists who have recognized radio's overwhelming promotional power. "Radio is the conduit to the people, the voice of the format and the lifestyle's soundtrack," one ad reads, quoting a Sony Music executive from 2008. Other ads highlight praise for radio's promotional power from country music band Rascal Flatts and hip-hop artist Lil Wayne.
"Don't let the big foreign record labels walk all over the 106,000 Americans employed by the radio industry," reads an advertisement affixed to metro platform floor.
The ad campaign was unveiled as the RIAA continues to press Congress to pass legislation that would require local radio stations to pay a new fee for music aired free to listeners. Countering the RIAA-backed legislation is the Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposes "any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge" on local radio stations. To date, bipartisan support for the pro-radio House resolution has reached 178 members. An identical resolution was recently introduced in the Senate and continues to gain support.
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. As the voice of more than 8,300 radio and television stations, NAB advances their interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.