The National Association of Broadcasters in in the midst of a battle with the RIAA. Throughout their debate, the NAB has brought out quote after quote from artists thanking "radio" for getting their songs exposure. Today was no different. The National Association of Broadcasters thumped their chest by quoting Rascal Flatts band member Gary LeVox who at last evenings Country Music Awards said, "Thanks so much to country radio. And again all of our fans, again all of our fans, again all of our fans."
From that quote, the NAB takes it upon themselves to assume that Rascal Flatts was speaking about "free radio", and they use it to support their stance against having to pay royalties.
Doesn't satellite radio promote artists? Didn't Rascal Flatts take over Sirius' New Country channel for a whole weekend this past August? Doesn't satellite radio help bring country music into broader markets more than "free radio?"
At the awards country star George Strait said, "Country radio, thank you very much."
Was George referring only to free radio? He certainly did not make that distinction, yet the NAB has now added both Rascal Flatts and George Strait as supporters of the NAB position. NAB vice President David Wharton went so far as to say:
"George Strait and Rascal Flatts are just the latest in a long line of entertainers to salute the promotional value of local radio airplay. When RIAA comes begging on Capitol Hill next year for a performance tax earmark, we're hopeful that lawmakers will remember the words of these artists and resist a billion dollar bailout for foreign-owned record labels."
Saluting the value of local radio airplay? Did those words come out anywhere in the quotes from the artists? Do these artists not appreciate exposure through satellite radio, where they happen to get get royalties? Do these artists despise the iPods and Slackers of the world?
I am all for a healthy debate about royalties on terrestrial radio. I feel the issue needs to be looked at closely. I also feel that it needs to be looked at in conjunction with all of the other radio services and audio entertainment services that are out there.
Terrestrial Radio is not the sole entity out there that promotes artists and songs. The NAB should stop pretending that this is the case. Everyone else is paying royalties, and I fully understand why terrestrial radio wants to keep the status quo. But, satellite radio, MP3, Internet radio, and other sources of audio entertainment can no longer be ignored.
If the NAB does not want to be seen as manipulating, they need to take these quotes at face value, and not assign meaning to them that may well not be there.
[NAB Press Release]
Position: Long SIRI.