RIAA Gets AFL-CIO To Support Performance Tax: Payments In Perpetuity For A Small Amount Of Work

from the hard-day's-work? dept

The RIAA has been touting this for a little while already, but the AFL-CIO has officially signed on to support the RIAA's highly questionable performance tax. This is a bogus attempt to boost RIAA revenue by taxing radio stations for promoting their music. The RIAA has been going around claiming that radio promoting its music is a "kind of piracy", while at the same time claiming it's somehow illegal for radio stations not to play RIAA music. Yeah. Logic is not the RIAA's strong suit. Even worse, of course, is that the RIAA has blatantly demonstrated that it knows there's tremendous value in getting its music on the air. It's been involved in payola scams for decades. To basically get the government to mandate reverse payola is the height of obnoxiousness.

Of course, what does the AFL-CIO have to do with any of this? Absolutely nothing. It's pure politicking on the part of the RIAA and its offshoot lobbying group musicFIRST. The main point is to get more Congressional folks on board with the tax by saying "the unions support it!" Somewhere down the line, I'm sure the RIAA will come to the support of the AFL-CIO on some other random bill as well.

But what's really ridiculous is the statement made by the AFL-CIO explaining why they support this:
"The labor movement was founded on the principle that a hard day's work deserves a fair day's pay. That's the principle at stake in the fight for the Performance Rights Act."
But that's not even close to true. The Performance Rights Act is about the opposite of a fair day's pay for a hard day's work. It's about getting paid over and over and over and over and over again for a bit of work done years ago. And, it's not a "fair day's pay" either. A fair day's pay is a contractually agreed upon wage between two parties. This is about the gov't forcing a totally unnecessary and nonsensical tax on radio stations for promoting RIAA music. In what world is it fair to tax someone who helps promote your work?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Hulser (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Squeezing blood from a turnip

    The RIAA has been going around claiming that radio promoting its music is a "kind of piracy", while at the same time claiming it's somehow illegal for radio stations not to play RIAA music.

    Besides the fact that the RIAA pushing a performance tax is hypocritical -- see above -- it seems like a rather bad business move. The last time I checked, the radio business wasn't doing so great. They don't have a lot of extra money to pay to the RIAA. But maybe the RIAA knows this and are just trying to grab as much money as they can before the whole system collapses.

     

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  2.  
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    Steve, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:23am

    I imagine I'm probably in the small minority, but I've stopped listening to radio altogether, and my life has measurably improved.

     

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  3.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Re:

    Yeah, I stopped listening to broadcast radio when the local 'alternative' station started playing Coldplay on the hour every hour.

    That was like a decade or so ago.

    The downside is that they're making it impossible for legal alternatives to even exist.

    Thank gods for pirates.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Re:

    I almost stopped listening to music when this went away: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audiogalaxy

    I had discovered more new music in such a short time span that my interest in music, which was waning at the time, began to grow again. Then it went away and was replaced by, what, nothing?

    I know that the recording industry is not the music industry but once the recording industry started suing people for copyright infringement then I stopped listening to music, all together. I stopped caring about music.

    Lost a customer there.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re:

    http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2010/04/29/sales-week-ending-42510/

    What kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where the number one album doesn’t even sell a hundred thousand copies? One where music has lost its perch atop the entertainment food chain. It’s like music is the sideshow at the entertainment circus. You don’t want to stay too long, the stink might stick.

    Used to be artists spoke from the heart, we waited to hear what they had to say with bated breath, we quoted them. Now we feel superior to them, as the blogs make fun of their antics. And then there are those so indie that the mainstream doesn’t care. Used to be you started outside the mainstream and then the mainstream came to you. Now, it’s like these acts are on the other side of the Continental Divide, and their music has never got a chance with the general public, the twain shall never meet. And you wonder why? It’s just not vital enough. Hell, there’s more honesty on a Facebook page than there is in music. And a dying media is complicit with the dying labels. They’re in cahoots hyping tripe to the point where most people just don’t give a fuck. This is a business?

    Every day people forward you links. Telling you to check out great shit. How often is it a record? And, if it is music, do you even bother to listen?

    Music is the land of losers. The "New York Times" piece on Irving Azoff was more riveting than any album on this chart. This is a guy who did it his way, who gave the middle finger to the man and won. Isn’t that what the musicians used to do? Now they want to cozy up to the man. Don’t you think there’s a problem with that?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:42am

    you always confuse work with the cost of use. the work to build a hotel only takes months, but they charge for the use of the room every night for years. in your world that would be perpetual payment for little work. one day you will realize that nobody is paying for the initial work (construction or creation) they are paying for the usage. your economics professors would be very disappointed at your basic misrepresentation of how things work.

     

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  7.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:46am

    Re:

    "you always confuse work with the cost of use. the work to build a hotel only takes months, but they charge for the use of the room every night for years. in your world that would be perpetual payment for little work"

    So the bricklayers are living off of royalties?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re:

    well, if you didnt pay them up front (and you dont pay for music up front, paying the musician a salary to write the song) then here has to be some way for money to be made. lets say the bricks are going to last 20 years, perhaps you could pay 1/10 of the labor every year for the next 20 years to make up for it?

     

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  9.  
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    Hulser (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:56am

    Re:

    you always confuse work with the cost of use. the work to build a hotel only takes months, but they charge for the use of the room every night for years.

    The owners of the hotel are charging you for all of the services which go along with using the room, not some abstract concept of "use of the room". The owners pay people every day to run the hotel, just like they paid people to build the hotel. Through their employees, the hotel owners are providing a service every day in return for payment. How does this relate to an artist receiving payment, in near-perpentuity, for work they did years ago?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:58am

    "you always confuse work with the cost of use. the work to build a hotel only takes months, but they charge for the use of the room every night for years. in your world that would be perpetual payment for little work"

    Another example of someone that has no clue.
    Somebody paid for the hotel: The hotel owners. And with no assurance they will recap their investment by providing a service: Renting rooms.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re:

    For work their grandparents did over half-a-century ago.

     

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  13.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 11:07am

    Re: Squeezing blood from a turnip

    this basically ensures that radio is going to stop playing RIAA music. They only did because they were getting paid and/or didn't have to pay in the first place. so I agree, bad call.

    I suspect a judge would strike it down too if this idea was ever challenged.

     

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  14.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "well, if you didnt pay them up front (and you dont pay for music up front, paying the musician a salary to write the song)"

    How is a salary not 'up front?'

    More the point, the analogy is flawed. If it was going to be equivalent, you'd have to be able to instantly replicate any building that suited your fancy.

    It's a different world, and all metaphors fail.

     

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  15.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 11:12am

    Re:

    Understanding of infinite vs finite fail.
    Space is a limited item.
    People pay for the luxury of a place to stay that isn't their home and for the roof over their heads with a bed to lay down on. There are also other things that help draw in the customers like pools. Paying for access is actually one of the things Mike advocates that musicians can do to make money. Charge for their time. Time is limited. Anything digital is not.
    Any econ professor knows that from econ 101 that as supply increases price drops. Infinite supply because it can be infinitely copied means price will drop to zero. You can try to fight it but it is inevitable. However, it still has value, so you can tie it to other things that do still have a price and use it to help sell them.
    I went through college for computers but passed through an econ 101 class along my time there and that concept seemed pretty damn simple to me.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 11:26am

    Re:

    Nice flawed analogy, as usual. Hotel owners don't pay the architect every time someone rents a room.

     

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  17.  
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    Oliver Wendell Jones (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 11:45am

    Maybe we should ask our politicians to reverse the situation

    After all, if the musicians need to get money for every time a song is played at some time in the future, then maybe the union workers should get a bit of money every time a car is sold or resold or driven, etc...

    Yeah, that seems fair, doesn't it?

     

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  18.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Plus you would have to change that 20 year thing to life plus 75. So the brick layer would be getting 1/10 his normal pay for the work every year for life and his kids and grand kids. I'm sure the brick layer would love that. Do 10 jobs and never have to work again.

     

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  19.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    Re: Maybe we should ask our politicians to reverse the situation

    I want money for every bit that's sent over the networks I painstakingly put in place, test, retest, and make sure work. I'm not asking for much. Maybe 1/10th of a cent per bit.

     

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  20.  
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    Jupiter (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Unfortunately the people who still listen to radio are the people most in the palm of the RIAA's publicity machine. They only listen to what is popular, and the RIAA determines what's popular. Radio stations will pay up because their audience will want to hear their popular RIAA music. Radio does not make the megastars anymore - television does.

     

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  21.  
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    Don E, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    Easy way to offset the tax

    Radio and television charge advertisers for airtime which is used for their commercials. Air time is not free. It costs in the form of electricity, hardware, etc. Charge the record labels the same rates the do the advertisers for playing thier music. A song is merely a 3-5 minute long commercial for the artist, so charge accordingly.

     

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  22.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 12:35pm

    "But that's not even close to true. The Performance Rights Act is about the opposite of a fair day's pay for a hard day's work. It's about getting paid over and over and over and over and over again for a bit of work done years ago. "

    Mine was better

    ... "this isnt about a hard days work or a fair days pay, its about getting paid everyday for the rest of your life for one days work.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Maybe we should ask our politicians to reverse the situation

    lol instant billionair, nice, i support it too :) of course the inflation of the thing would be hella huge...

     

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  24.  
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    Charles W - T Consaul, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Used to have music on Audiogalaxy

    The RIAA bullied Audiogalaxy into taking my original material off of it's website because it claimed that I had a right to protection whether I wanted it or not. I found a new home at Soundclick.com and so far they have stood up to those reprobates. If the AFL-CIO are representing the RIAA, I am going to have to change Unions however. I do not want to be any part of a goon squad. I used to think it was pretty cool to be a certified teacher and still be a member of the same Union my father belonged to, but if they are going to be part of the organization that trampled my First Amendment Rights, I don't need to be a part of it!

     

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  25.  
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    Any Mouse, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 3:53pm

    Re:

    I respectfully disagree. Your blanket statement does not take NPR into account.

     

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  26.  
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    gorehound (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 5:05pm

    Performance Rights Act is a piece of shit.It is one thing that really has me pissed off.I AM A MUSICIAN !!! I have played in bands since 1972.All my music is given away freely or you can purchase it.My band/main website is at
    www.bigmeathammer.com I am the founder and vocalist for the oldest punk band in Maine "Big Meat Hammer".

    I just wanted you to know this musician is very glad for the free promotion I have been given by being on the radio.The 1st time I was on a radio was in 1978 with my 1st punk band.I have never asked for nor wanted money for being on a radio.
    This law is disgusting.Please boycott all corporate artists and labels.do not support these assholes.There are 10's of thousands of artists like me who have a great appreciation for what radio has done for us.And we never ask for a dime.
    Kiss My ASS RIAA !!Q!!

     

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  27.  
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    Mitch D (profile), May 2nd, 2010 @ 4:31am

    Paying for performance on radio is good

    my god, i just don't get this. Performers getting a radio royalty is a great thing. other countries around the world offer this performance royalty, which gets paid by radio stations. Artists from canada, EU and Asia get paid. but american artists dont get paid from around the world.

    sorry, but here i think the evil is the NAB, which has successfully prevented artists getting a matching performance royalty to what songwriters get. This is only a good thing. helps artists earn a living when say someone like SAM MOORE can't tour to get an income.

    this is just and right, can't believe so many people are embittered against it, this has nothing to do with big or small record labels. this is about artists rights, and it is only good for artists. if passed, small and large artists to get income for their work. not tons, but a lil. and when all these p2p network or websites are out there making it hard to get income from record sales, this radio income is important

     

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  28.  
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    Roger Bixley, May 3rd, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Re:

    Using your analogy, the architect of that hotel should be making a commission every time the bellhop gets a tip.

     

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  29.  
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    John, May 4th, 2010 @ 11:39am

    Re: Paying for performance on radio is good

    I could say for sure YOU don't work at a radio station or have a any idea of how it works. Radio Stations PAY royalties for the music they play to ASCAP and/or BMI

    http://www.ascap.com/index.aspx

    http://www.bmi.com/

    I think is time for radio stations to charge a PAY FOR PLAY to RIAA music. You want me to give you "air time" to play your music??? PAY!!

    Imagen Pizza Hut sending a boy to a street light or a corner to supply people their flyers of Pizza offers and then charge the boy for the flyers he gave away? would you do it? would you be that boy??? Without radio people dont get to know about new music. Another example, can I ask the Mailman to pay ME a tax because he got paid for delivering MY MAIL???? Next time I send a letter I'll try to charge the Mailman for my mail.

     

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