Judiciary Committees Urge Radio Per-Performance Fee Negotiations

Conyers, Leahy send letter to NAB's Smith, Newberry, MusicFirst Coalition's Bendall

The chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees sent a letter to National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith, NAB Joint Board Chairman Steve Newberry and MusicFIRST Coalition Executive Director Jennifer Bendall Monday saying they want those stakeholders to start negotiating a per-performance fee for radio
airplay by Nov. 17.

Broadcasters have been battling legislation to that effect, pointing out the inherent promotional value of airplay to the music industry. But bills have been reported out of both committees and the legislators said it was time to come up with a negotiated payment that Congress can consider that "negotiated solution" as it considers passage of the Performance Rights Act.

According to House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the negotiations, which wil include committee memgers and staffers, should continue through Dec. 1, after which those members and staff will make a recommendation.

"MusicFIRST will participate in the discussions hosted by members and staff of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees," said Bendall in a statement. "We have always said we are ready to sit down with NAB and others in the music radio business to create a performance right that is fair to artists, musicians and rights holders and fair to radio."