WASHINGTON, DC -- The National Association of Broadcasters expressed its strong support for a bipartisan resolution opposing "any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge" on local broadcast radio stations that has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and will be introduced in the House of Representatives later tonight with more than 90 co-sponsors. 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.
"For decades, local radio airplay has jumpstarted and sustained the careers of countless musicians and record label moguls," said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. "Local radio's unparalleled promotional value drives increased record and merchandise sales and sells out concert venues. NAB applauds lawmakers for standing with hometown broadcasters in opposing a job-killing performance royalty that would damage the No. 1 platform for exposing new music."
Reps. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) are the principal sponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House of Representatives, which has bipartisan co-sponsorship from more than 90 Members of Congress. Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) are the co-sponsors of the bipartisan resolution in Senate.
"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 such public performance of sound recordings," reads the Local Radio Freedom Act.
Introduction of the LRFA comes as 600 radio and television broadcasters from across the country are visiting Washington for the NAB State Leadership Conference. Local broadcasters will meet with Members of Congress from their state to discuss legislative priorities such as their opposition to a performance royalty.
On numerous occasions, both record label executives and artists have recognized the promotional value of free radio airplay. Recent statements include:
"You can ask people in the building, and I can be quoted several times a day, 'If you're not on country radio, you don't exist.' Again I can't think of one star, much less superstar in country music, who wasn't broken by country radio. It's just a fact. That's where the active audience is. That's where they go to listen to it. People talk about, 'It's a media act. It's a groundswell. We're going to build it virally.' That's all nice, but I defy you to tell me one act that made it big without country radio. And they're great partners."
-- Sony Nashville Nashville Chairman and CEO Gary Overton, The Tennessean, February 21, 2015
"Radio is how we reached the fans. When I was coming up, everyone was listening to their local station. And those stations really wanted to know who the artists were, and really took the idea they were the bridge seriously. When the disc jockeys talked about the records, a lot of times they talked about the artists, and that helped build a sense of who we were, too."
-- Country music superstar Kenny Chesney, Radio Ink, February 17, 2015
I forgot to thank the DJ's & radio stations who did the mega missy mixes tribute I'm grateful!
-- Tweet from rapper Missy Elliott following her Super Bowl XLIX appearance, February 2, 2015
"There is no room for error, so labels and radio are partners more than ever before."
-- Charlie Walk, executive vp of Republic Records, Billboard roundtable with execs from radio and recording businesses, January 17, 2015
"I want to say thank you, thank you to radio that believed in us, that played our tracks when no one knew who we were."
-- Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds accepting "Top Rock Album" at 2014 Billboard Music Awards, May 18, 2014
"All those radio people, they shake my life."
-- Recording Artist Pharrell Williams on the success of "Happy," Now 105, March 4, 2014
What can I say besides a HUGE thank you to country radio, @WMNashville promo and yall fans... "Neon Light" has become my 18th #1 song!!!
-- Tweet from country music star Blake Shelton, November 10, 2014
"I heard this on the radio yesterday evening for the first time and it just…If somebody sits here and tells you, 'Oh, it's okay to hear yourself on the radio,'" they're lying to you. It's the greatest thing on the planet. It's fantastic."
-- Garth Brooks on releasing his new single "People Loving People," Good Morning, America, September 4, 2014
I can't thank radio and you all enough for the Hot 100 #1! But I can give you this video of Shake It Off outtakes.
-- Taylor Swift on her single "Shake It Off," August 27, 2014
"You hear the scary stories from other artists who have been through it before, but for us, it's been a cool experience. If you want to be an artist, this is what you set out to do -- play your music for people, and the radio tour is a microcosm for that. It sets up the ability to play live shows, and gives you a platform for your music to be played. It's been great for us to get out there and meet everyone at country radio, and get out there and forge relationships with them."
-- Pop-country duo Native Run's Bryan Dawley, "Native Run Talk Hearing Their Song on Radio for the First Time," Billboard, August 19, 2014
"It was really like one of those old school moments you see in the movies. It was really exciting. I just don't think we quite understood at the time how important radio was in the U.S. in terms of new music exposure and discovery. Looking back on it now is one of those big watershed moments."
-- South African band Kongos keyboardist and accordion player Johnny Kongos on hearing eventual Billboard Alternative Songs chart #1 hit "Come With Me Now" on the radio, August 6, 2014
"Local conversation and local culture isn't disappearing necessarily just because we have a world that's more connected. In fact I think it allows some subcultures to blossom a bit more and for local conversations to have even more power and I think that radio can certainly play a part in that."
-- Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto, June 19, 2014
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and 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.