This has really been a remarkable couple of weeks for artists’ rights as the campaign to pay performers for terrestrial broadcast has just received its first public support from a radio station music director. The courageous Karoline Kramer-Gould the MD for Cleveland AAA tastemaker station WJCU has publicly endorsed a terrestrial royalty for performers. In a HuffPo interview she says this:
“To imply that artists should be willing to work for free invalidates everything about them and what they have spent years working on. I would never ask any other skilled professional to work for free and it disgusts me that the radio industry finds it acceptable. Not only that, but the fact that some musicians find it okay makes me think of Stockholm Syndrome. It horrifies me that so many people have been brainwashed to believe it’s acceptable–it not only lessens their hard work but also lessens them as human beings.”
Wow. That says it all. Tweet at Karoline to show your support: @RadioCleveKKG
The debate over a terrestrial radio royalty has usually pitted artists against radio and that’s a shame because it doesn’t really have to be this way. After all radio stations rely on the constant supply of (relatively cheap) content that performers create. It’s not in the interest of radio to deprive performers of revenues to create music. But often overlooked is the fact the NAB members enjoy significant protections as copyright holders. If performers don’t have a “right” in the public performance of their sound recordings, might congress decide NAB members have no exclusive right in the public performance of their broadcasts? If that’s the case what’s to stop unlicensed streaming sites from re-broadcasting their signals?
See that’s the thing about rights. You may not like them when they belong to others, but if you don’t support the rights of your “suppliers,” you end up undermining your own.