Tuesday, July 31, 2007

National Association of Broadcasters Backs the Internet Radio Equality Act

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) can't quite seem to negotiate in good faith with anyone, not even the powerful National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) with represents virtually the all AM and FM over the air radio stations in the United States.

"We are disappointed by SoundExchange's continued reluctance to respond to the good-faith reasonable offer put forth by NAB nearly two months ago," said NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton. "NAB will now turn our attention to aggressively advocating in support of Rep. Inslee's legislation to ensure that local radio broadcasters who stream content online are treated fairly."

The RIAA seems determined to force Congress to act. The recording organization seems pathologically incapable of negotiating in good faith.

Certainly all small Internet Radio Station operators appreciate the support of the money rich and well connected National Association of Broadcasters.


The RIAA's position on Internet Radio seems so bizarre many people cannot believe there are not other issues preventing a reasonable settlement with Internet Radio.

"Why," a reasonable and intelligent person would ask, "would the RIAA want to kill an entire industry that serves millions of music lovers?"

I've been saying for the last several years, the issue isn't money and it isn't royalties and it sure as hell isn't providing payment to the artists and musicians. It's all about control. Once all competing Internet Radio Stations are gone the ONLY broadcasters left will be the big record companies themselves. The big four music labels, Sony-BMG, Warner, EMI and Universal are effectively exempt from all rules and all royalties (i.e., they pay the legally mandated royalties to themselves; their net cost is zero).

The key is that when all competition is eliminated, they will play only artists who are signed with the big recording labels. You'll hear Kelly Clarkson, but never again hear Irene Jackson (a Canadian independent who is a favorite on Wizard Radio).

Well, a new study, released last week, proves my point. Mark Lam, the CEO of
Live365 (the network that broadcasts all three Wizard Radio Stations), released the following data:

"Only 10-13% of AM/FM music is from independent artists and labels, so we spin four times as much indie music as AM/FM. Our 10,000 DJ's are opening up the diverse spectrum of musical genres and artists while AM/FM program formats narrow it. I see this statistic as a genuine reflection of what music DJ's will play when the choice is driven by what people like rather than profits."

Live 365's broadcast mix is shown on the LEFT and AM/FM Radio is shown on the right.

Both of the above stories are covered in depth in the July 26th issue of Radio and Internet News RAIN (click here).



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