This probably isn't a huge surprise, but the Commerce Department has now come out in favor of the performance rights tax on radio stations
, which will force radio stations to pay up to promote music. Basically, as it stands right now, when a radio station plays music, it pays the songwriters/composers, but not the performers. That's because the performers are getting free promotion
by getting their songs heard on the radio. As we've pointed out, this is really something of a "bailout" for the RIAA, which will get a new stream of cash for something that makes absolutely no sense in an open market. Historically, record labels have always been known to (often illegally) pay the radio stations
to play music. That's because they knew, quite explicitly, that there's value in having their music played.
But, then, when they started pushing for this new tax, suddenly they amusingly started to claim that radio is "a kind of piracy."
Seriously. However, they then immediately contradicted themselves by then accusing one radio station of illegally not playing their music
Basically, the recording industry is willing to make any argument, no matter how contradictory to get this free money, which they claim they're entitled to. They say that they need to get paid for music played on the radio at the same time that they're pushing money the other direction just to get on the air (since they know it's really a promotion). They say that radio is "pirating" from them, but when a radio station stops playing RIAA music (which should make them happy if it's really "piracy,") they accuse them of abusing the airwaves, and demand an FCC investigation.
This has been nothing but a blatant attempt by the recording industry to get free money through legislative fiat, and it's ridiculous that the Commerce Department would support such an effort.