Sirius XM Passes RIAA Tax On To Consumers

from the but-of-course dept

Not quite sure how I missed this earlier (update: oops, turns out we didn't miss it -- so consider this an encore presentation), but Bret alerts us to the news that with the ever increasing royalty rates pushed by the RIAA in the form of its "spin-off" Sound Exchange, and codified by the Copyright Royalty Board (for whom I still do not understand how anyone can justify its existence), that Sirius XM has simply added a $2 RIAA tax to everyone's monthly bills to help pay for the new performance royalties. Yup, because the RIAA and its members haven't been able to come up with a business model that works, they get the courts to tax you for listening to your satellite radio (on top of what you already pay and what they already pay to songwriters and publishers) and that gets passed on to you. Just imagine what will happen if the RIAA gets its wish and gets to add a similar tax to terrestrial radio stations as well. If you thought radio was chock full of commercials before...

Filed Under: performance royalties, radio, satellite radio, tax
Companies: riaa, sirius xm


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  1. identicon
    anon, 20 Aug 2009 @ 1:38pm

    So a musician records a song, and the radio gets lots of listeners and advertising revenue because of it. In return, the person who wrote the song, who may or may not have actually played the song, gets money. The performance of the song is usually a joint effort between the person who wrote it and the person who played it, but if the musician playing on the recording didn't write the song, even if they're in the band with the songwriter, they get nothing.

    That means every time a Beatles song is played, Paul and John get paid while Ringo and George get nothing. When a Led Zeppelin song is played, Plant and Page get paid, while Bonham and Jones get nothing.

    What is proposed is change to the copyright law that says that the musicians playing on the recording, as well as the person who wrote the song, should get a little bit of money each time radio uses the song to generate advertising revenue, which is every time any song is played.

    I say that's fair enough. Have you ever heard of this imbalance of wages in any other field? Does the person who draws the blueprints get payed while the contractor that builds it gets nothing? Does the script writer get paid while the actors get nothing?

    To make it fair, the radio stations will have to pay the musicians and the writers. They're only in it for the money. If you haven't noticed, commercial radio stations only play the songs that are guaranteed to generate advertising revenue. They no longer care about the music, only reaching the demographic so they can sell ads.

    The radio tax wouldn't even go to the government, which means IT'S NOT A TAX AT ALL!!! The radio industry is just calling it a tax, because it's a damn fine way to get people upset at the government, and get them on their side. Well, people that don't read the details anyway.

    So good job people. Shoot down the "tax"! Don't bother looking it up or educating yourself so you can make an informed decision.

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