After Almost a Century Wait, A Royalty Deal for Radio Artists!!

This post goes to both blogs, the third time I think this has happened. Mardi Gras Song Singers will eventually benefit from this deal.  It has been a very lonely wait for the wondrous talent that takes a songwriter’s tune and makes it their own. For all the talent, the wait is sort of over!!

Artists have been historically screwed on the  American radio royalty situation for the last hundred years. It’s almost criminal what has happened to artist radio royalties in America in the past. This  new development makes me very happy, and gives me a rather large motivation to write about it, and even CROW about it a bit.

The historic deal between Clear Channel Media & Entertainment and Big Machine Label Group revamps the royalty calculation between the two to include the artists singing the tunes for the first time in the USA. Artists have received payment for radio plays in Europe and Japan for generations. Big Machine Group represents Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, and Rascal Flatts, among other huge Country stars.

Taylor Swift Working on a Tune

Taylor Swift Working on a Tune

Clear Channel owns 850 radio stations, and their website broadcasts their radio signals and smart phone app via the I Heart Radio application. It’s easy to dislike Clear Channel for their domination of radio. This gives me a big reason to like them.

This is a smart move for Clear Channel and Big Machine, as it places them way in front of the curve in the artist rights arena. For both organizations, that’s a very nice spot to occupy.

Louisiana born Country Superstar Tim McGraw

Louisiana born Country Superstar Tim McGraw

The mechanism to pay songwriters dates back to 1917 and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr’s opinion in the Supreme Court decision Herbert vs Shanley Co. The gist of what was decided-  when copyrighted music is played or performed in a commercial setting or through a commercial medium, the composer is due a royalty. Not the performing artist.

100 years ago, composers had more pull, but in recent decades, star musicians have been  calling to get paid. Congress has looked at the performance royalty fee issue for decades, but hasn’t acted. USA royalties to songwriters and publishers are valued at $500 million/annually.

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~ by neworleansmusicman on June 12, 2012.

2 Responses to “After Almost a Century Wait, A Royalty Deal for Radio Artists!!”

  1. Unfortunately both Big Machine and CC have spun this issue in a good light for artists, but the truth is CC wins in the long run. In fact, we don’t even know whether artists will get a direct payment as negotiated under the law on the digital side, or just a credit towards recoupment. This was a smart way to undercut the digital streaming rates that CC will have to negotiate with Sound Exchange in a couple of years. The current rates are much lower than what sattelite, pandora or others pay. It’s really not negotiating a “terrestrial rate”, it’s only compensating to get a deal for streaming on iHeartRadio.

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