WASHINGTON, DC -- The National Association of Broadcasters expressed strong support for bipartisan resolutions introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate today opposing "any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge" on local broadcast radio stations. The Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA) signals Members of Congress's opposition to any potential legislation that would impose new performance royalties on broadcast radio stations for music airplay.
"Local radio enjoys a symbiotic relationship with record labels and recording artists that promotes new music discovery, fosters musicians' careers, and drives music sales," said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. "America's broadcasters are deeply grateful to the scores of lawmakers who recognize radio’s unparalleled role in promoting music. We thank them for standing in opposition to a job-killing performance royalty that would devastate the economics of local radio."
Reps. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) are the principal cosponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House of Representatives, which has bipartisan cosponsorship from 115 Members of Congress. Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced a companion resolution in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 6).
"Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air, or on any business for the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station broadcast over the air," reads the Local Radio Freedom Act.
In the 114th Congress, a similar resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate in February 2015. The House resolution was introduced with 94 cosponsors, and eventually gathered 234 signatures. The Senate resolution garnered 27 signatures.
On numerous occasions, both record label executives and artists have recognized the promotional value of free radio airplay. Recent statements include:
"He's completely responsible [for our fame]. He was the first one to play us on the radio."
-- Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell referring to then-radio DJ Carson Daly, Today, October 31, 2016
"I want to keep writing songs that matter. There's not quite a greater feeling than having a song of yours come on the radio. You can't help it, you just turn it up a little louder. Having people tell you they heard your song on the radio and it affected them in some way, whether it's laughing, crying, dancing—that’s why I do what I do."
-- Country music songwriter Andrew Dorff, MusicRow, "Exclusive: Songwriter Andrew Dorff Finds Inspiration In Books, Life And Competition," October 6, 2016
"Radio is what it always has been. Radio might not want to be the place where you discover things, but they still are. Artists and radio will always be brothers in the discovery process of bringing new music to people. Between country radio and the artist, (it's our job) to bring music to people that changes people's lives — good, bad, makes them cry. It’s what we do."
-- Garth Brooks, The Tennessean, “Garth Brooks parts with RCA, looks for promo team,” August 8, 2016
"You know it's the thing where there’s been so much work put into it and you always dream of this day, but until it really hits radio it doesn’t quite seem real until you’re driving on the road, and hear it in your car…or friends, or family start texting you and calling you, and saying 'I just heard you’re song on the radio' that it’s kind of made it all real."
-- LANco lead vocals Brandon Lancaster, Sounds Like Nashville, “LANco Gets Excited to Hear Their Single on the Radio,” July 23, 2016
"If you want YouTube to be compared to terrestrial radio, then you have to be a good partner to artists like radio is. Radio works with artists so they can present music to their fans in the way they intended. Radio does not provide unlimited, on-demand access to music which can be shared. Radio doesn’t leak music, and it doesn't make unfinished or poor-quality live recordings available."
-- Azoff MSG Entertainment Chairman and CEO Irving Azoff, Re/code, “Dear YouTube: An open letter from Irving Azoff,” May 9, 2016
"I always love hearing songs on the radio, that’s the highlight of my life."
-- Chairman and CEO of Epic Records L.A. Reid about writing “Every Little Step” by Bobby Brown, February 23, 2016
"I think every bit of research we’ve seen shows that the primary way people intersect with music and learn about music is still radio."
-- Universal Music Group Nashville CEO and Chairman Mike Dungan, The Tennessean, "Universal Music Group exec: Country radio still strong," February 10, 2016
"Radio is the only reason I’m still kicking today. The only reason I'm making music, the only reason I’m still able to get my voice heard. Even having this conversation right now is because of the radio. The radio has never turned their back on me...Radio has the most influence in my career."
-- Chris Brown, interview on KPWR Power 106 (Los Angeles), December 17, 2015
"After I heard it on the radio, it was such a relief. I went to the toilet and cried my eyes out."
-- Adele on hearing radio airplay of her single “Hello” for the first time, November 23, 2015
The 115 House co-sponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act include:
Ralph Abraham (LA-5)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Steve Pearce (NM-2)
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio ad television 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.