RIAA Takes Cue From The Onion: Wants Radio Stations To Pay Up For Promoting Music

from the no,-seriously? dept

You know your business is in trouble when you feel the need to start taking cues from the Onion for ways to squeeze more money out of customers. Last year, it was Verizon, who was found to have copied The Onion's satirical "charge-you-at-a-whim" plan. The latest, as submitted by a few folks, is that the RIAA is following the basic recommendation famously laid out by the Onion five years ago to go after radio stations for "giving away free music." It's not quite that bad, but pretty close. The LA Times notes that the RIAA and some musicians are asking Congress to change the law to force radio stations to pay up for promoting their music. Of course, radio stations already do have to pay some royalties, but they're for composers and publishers. The actual musicians are exempt from royalties because Congress (correctly) recognized that they get the benefit of their music being promoted. However, the new charge is being led by an original member of the Supremes, Mary Wilson, with the support of the RIAA, complaining that she can't just sit at home and collect royalties and actually has to (gasp!) work to get paid these days. Oh, the horror. If only everyone else could sit at home and get paid for work they did forty years ago. In the meantime, she ignores the fact that radio play is a big part of what helped make the Supremes famous allowing her to make any money from her music at all. It's what drove people to buy the records. It's what drove people to go to the concerts. This is just like the musicians in the UK whining about not extending copyright. They're acting as if this is a welfare system, and the government needs to make sure they keep getting paid for work they did decades ago.

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  1. icon
    John (profile), 25 May 2007 @ 1:47pm

    Bullies

    Back in 2001, Salon.com ran an article about how Clear Channel was the "big bully" of the airwaves (and may still be):
    http://archive.salon.com/ent/feature/2001/04/30/clear_channel/index.html

    It would be interesting to see which company can bully each other:
    In one corner, the RIAA, which represents artists (but is usually only trying to make money for itself).
    In the other corner, Clear Channel Communications, which owns or operates thousands of radio stations.

    If the RIAA pushes Clear Channel, will they push back and no longer play RIAA-backed music? How would this affect all the artists whom the RIAA claims to represent?

    Of course the other question is: how relevant is "top 40" radio? How many people still listen to the same cookie-cutter "Best Mix of the 60's, 70's, and 80's" stations? How many people listen instead to talk radio, sports radio, or satellite radio? How important is it to have your song played on the radio?

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