@NPR ‘s Pledge Drive for the National Association of Broadcasters, Pandora, Google and Clear Channel

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NPR has joined with a host of broadcasting and tech behemoths to lobby congress for lower royalties for artists. Well they don’t quite come out and say that,  there is a wishy washy statement about “affordability” but  coalition partners Pandora, NAB, Google, Clear Channel have relentlessly  lobbied for lower rates for artists and songwriters. Remember these are the same companies that lobbied to slash performer rates with the Orwellian named “Internet Radio Fairness Act.”   The act would have created “fairness” by slashing performers royalties up to 85%.  It’s not our fault that Silicon Valley firms can’t make a profit giving our music away for free while sucking out 1/2 billion dollars in executive stock compensation!  (Try selling music like Apple they don’t seem to be having any profit problems).

But I digress…

We are puzzled as to why NPR joined this fight.

1) Public broadcasting stations already enjoy lower royalty rates.

2) Artist’s routinely and willingly support NPR stations by giving them rights to recordings in perpetuity.  See NPR performance Contract.

3) Most of NPR’s programming expenses are in it’s executive salaries and  non-musical programming.  Further reducing artists royalties would make little difference.

4) Most of the financial benefits of royalty reductions would go to NPR’s corporate competitors.

5) Taxpayers give over $400 million a year to support public broadcasting.

What gives NPR?  Why the corporate sell-out?

3 thoughts on “@NPR ‘s Pledge Drive for the National Association of Broadcasters, Pandora, Google and Clear Channel

    • Well restaurants over a certain size (dining area of 4,000 sq feet?) have to get a performance license. This would probably be mostly chain restaurants but not always. I imagine they want to keep songwriters under the DOJ consent decree so they can pay minimal performance fees. I don’t see that they would be in this alliance for any other reason. They don’t have rates set by the CRB. Maybe there 500k a year Washington DC lobbyists need to look like they are doing something?

      The NRB has always been pretty regressive organization. Look at some of the things they lobbied for in the past. It doesn’t surprise me they are part of this coalition. NPR does.

    • The National Restaurant Association has been trying to get out of paying songwriters for music in restaurants for years and years. They backed the disastrous “Fairness in Music Licensing Act” that led to an arbitration filed against the United States in the WTO http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairness_in_Music_Licensing_Act_of_1998 which the U.S. lost. That resulted in the taxpayer paying millions in fines (annually if memory serves) to compensate foreign songwriters. That essentially socialized the royalties that the restaurants should have been paying.

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