It’s Groundhog Day, and we sure feel like we’re stuck in a loop. Once again, record companies are calling for new royalty fees on local radio. As an unparalleled service – free to listeners and essential to communities – radio fills a unique role in the music licensing ecosystem. It’s time to break the cycle of repetitive arguments that endanger radio’s ability to keep serving communities like yours.
Radio pays its fair share for music and provides value to the music industry. Radio stations pay hundreds of millions each year in music licensing fees, and radio stations that stream music online or through apps pay performance fees, as do other streaming services. Local radio also provides as much as $2.4 billion annually in free promotion to artists and record labels.
Recording industry lobbyists ignore the differences between platforms and use vague terms like “music creators” to imply artists aren’t paid for their work – but the music licensing system absolutely includes and benefits them.
In fact, in 2018, Congress passed the Music Modernization Act, a sweeping update of the music licensing system based on current technologies and listening habits. A bipartisan majority agreed then that no new fees should be imposed on local radio stations, and today, more than 230 members of Congress have demonstrated their support for local radio by cosponsoring the Local Radio Freedom Act, a bipartisan resolution opposing new fees on local radio and recognizing its vital role in every community.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit radio hard. Though the pandemic has devastated local advertising, radio stations across the country have rallied to continue supporting their communities with news, traffic, weather, emergency information, public service projects – and the music you love.
The pandemic has challenged industries across the economy, but the only way we can recover is together. Leveling new fees on radio to pad record company profits will only harm the listeners who rely on their favorite radio stations for news, entertainment and a vital connection to their world.
Tell your legislators now: support local radio so radio can keep supporting your local community!