MusicFIRST, a recording industry lobbying group that already has some controversy surrounding it due to contributions
from groups not allowed to be involved in lobbying, is continuing to push forward with its campaign to claim that radio is a kind of piracy
and demanding legislation that forces radio stations to pay extra
to play music. For most of the history of radio, radio stations have paid songwriters and publishers royalties for playing music on the radio, but they didn't pay the musicians (really: the record labels). In fact, the money often (illegally) went in the other direction, with the labels paying the radio stations to play certain artists to help promote them.
However, these days, with the recording industry unable to adapt to the changing marketplace, they've taken to demanding that others (individuals, ISPs, video games, Apple, webcasters, etc...) simply give them money instead. Their latest target, of course, is radio stations. It started with that silly claim that radio is a form of piracy -- then advanced to a bill, being introduced by a Congressional Rep, John Conyers (whose last campaign was heavily funded by those connected to the labels and this lobbying group), to force radio stations to pay the record labels as well.
MusicFIRST's latest effort was to drag its dog and pony show to Congress, where it paraded a bunch of musicians in front of Congresscritters to whine about how unfair it was that radio stations helped promote their music without paying them
. Of course, it looks like MusicFIRST should have talked to the musicians a bit more carefully first. One of the musicians they trotted out, Matt Maher, less than 24 hours before going before Congress, noted on his Twitter account how such royalties could hurt radio stations
and worried that it would cause some stations to shut down
. Apparently, someone went a bit off the reservation and made exactly the opposite point that MusicFIRST wanted him to make....