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Performance Payment Bill Teed Up

Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) plan to introduce music licensing reform legislation Monday at an event at SAG-AFTRA headquarters.

The bill is being tabbed the Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015 and, by its supporters in the music industry, as "landmark federal pro-artist music licensing reform legislation."

Broadcasters have argued against the performance rights payment artists are seeking, and the bill would presumably create, saying that artists are already compensated through the value of airplay.

The National Association of Broadcasters, which has successfully fended off earlier congressional attempts to create the performance right/royalty/fee says radio is the "number one promotional tool for record labels and performers," while a performance rights payment (they call it a tax) could financially cripple local radio stations, putting jobs at risk, stifling new artists trying to break into the business and harming the more than 240 million Americans who rely on local radio

MusicFIRST, which is pushing for the legislation on behalf of artists and labels, says a performance royalty is hardly a tax.

"[B]akers pay for flour, designers pay for cloth, and corporate radio should pay for music. Ending this loophole would mean an even playing field for all broadcasters and a well overdue end to unpaid exploitation of artists," it says.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.