Performance Bill Passes: The Washington Post is reporting that in an unexpected late-night session, Congress passed HR848, commonly known as the Performance Rights Act, by a 219-216 margin in the House and 64-33 in the Senate. The measure grants performers and sound recording copyright owners an initial 5% of terrestrial radio station gross revenue, escalating to 8% by 2013. Effective immediately, the new law has sent radio groups scrambling, with many top market stations pulling music or going dark. A quick check reveals talk-only programming at Country stations including WUSN/Chicago, KKGO/Los Angeles and KPLX/Dallas.
Representatives of the RIAA were reportedly displeased with the passage as eleventh-hour changes saw a shift in distribution percentages, with artists and performers taking fully 90% of collections over record labels' 10%. For their part, artists and performers are equally unhappy that the bill included an addendum that will allow engineers, assistants, techs and in some cases recording session caterers to participate in the revenue stream. The so-called "Cheese Tray" provision, according to some accounts, even has the potential to reward studio janitorial staff and valets who work on rainy days. Read a full report here.
Hats, off to the Country Aircheck team! You got us!
Memo to Barack Obama, and this is no prank: that bit about the majority of the money going to artists is a JOKE too. That's why radio (and me!) stand in unity against it.
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