Tomorrow: Radio and Music Industries Collide

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 25, 2008

The battle between terrestrial radio stations and the music industry will heat up tomorrow, when the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property will go through mark-up of a bill requiring radio stations to pony up royalties to performers and record labels.

The Performance Rights Act may be amended tomorrow to include provisions for small and public radio stations. Royalties paid by radio stations with revenues of less than $1.25 million will be capped at $5,000 per year. And public broadcasters’ fees may be limited to $1,000 a year. The big, glaring questions that remain: How much would the other radio stations have to fork over? And does this bill have a fighting chance at passing Congress?

These concessions are small comfort for broadcasters, which, today, don’t pay any performance royalties at all. The National Association of Broadcasters is recruiting Congresspeople in support of a different bill, which would outlaw performance royalties altogether. Performance royalties-related bills have come and gone before — without passing Congress. Still, now that Webcasters and satellite radio companies have started to pay similar royalties, it may be harder for the radio stations to fight them off.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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