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Are We Headed For Another Royalty War???

 
Monday, August 15, 2022
 
The latest renewal in a years-long running battle over radio royalties appears to be beginning. To review, in the US, terrestrial stations pay for the use of underlying compositions but not recordings themselves. Music companies have maintained a long-running attempt to change the law, while major radio has for obvious reasons worked just as hard to keep the status quo...
 
Several radio-royalty bills have emerged in recent years, and 2021 brought with it the introduction of the bipartisan American Music Fairness Act (AMFA) which would compel broadcasters to pay for the use of masters. The bill received support from the AFL-CIO in June of 2022...
 
Despite the union support, the bill hasn't gotten off the ground and May of 2021 found lawmakers reintroducing it. Backed by the NAB, the measure touts the perceived promotional benefits of traditional radio and goes as far as stating: "Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station."
 
Bearing in mind these and other components of the marathon radio-royalties dispute, iHeartMedia revealed recently that it had pulled down over $954 million during the three months ending on June 30th, up about $92.4 million from the same period in 2021...
 
Additionally, iHeartMedia posted a 194.64 percent year-over-year increase in quarterly operating income, at $82.7 million, and said that its net income had improved from a $31.96 million loss in Q2 2021 to $15.18 million in the black for the identical stretch during 2022. Meanwhile, Cumulus Media turned in a five percent YoY revenue boost for Q2, when net income jumped to $8.7 million from a net loss of $5.9 million. Meanwhile, US Representative Joe Crowley, chairman of musicFIRST, an RIAA-backed organization that's looking to secure recorded royalties for AM/FM plays, has weighed in on the Q2 showing of iHeartMedia and reiterated his support for the previously highlighted AMFA...
 
Crowley, is holding nothing back: "Once again, greedy broadcasters are brazenly showing their hypocrisy. During their quarterly earnings calls this week, iHeartMedia and Cumulus crowed to Wall Street about how much money they are making." This was part of a more than 120-word-long statement by Crowley:
 
"At the same moment they are spotlighting their dramatic profit increases, on Capitol Hill, they whine to lawmakers about not affording to pay music creators a single cent when their music is played on AM/FM radio. It's long past time for us to stop subsidizing Big Radio's profits off the backs of hard-working artists. It's time for Congress to stand with artists - and 70% of the American public - by swiftly passing the American Music Fairness Act, which requires multi-billion-dollar radio corporations to finally pay their fair share. It's just the right thing to do."
 
At the time of writing, the National Association of Broadcasters didn't appear to have directly addressed the remarks...
 
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