Pirate Radio in the USA Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The US blogosphere is in uproar about the notion that US radio stations should be paying artists for playing their music on air. Provision for royalties is to be considered by a U.S. House subcommittee could vote as early as tomorrow according to Wired.
You may think the notion that radio should pay for playing music is crazy, but the US is perhaps the exception in not doing so. It's been established practice in the UK for many years that radio pays for playing the music, regardless of the benefits the artist enjoys from having their product played to a large audience.
Clearly both sides benefit from the arrangement of music being played on radio [fills airtime with content that listeners want and musicians get their product publicised]- what is at issue is who should be paying who and in what proportion to the overall benefits received.
Oddities in the UK arrangements abound - if you want to advertise an album on radio then the artist pays the station but if radio features an album then they pay. If a concert is promoted by way of competitions with tickets as the prize, then a barter deal is often done such that the station get free tickets in exchange for promotion. Why should sanity get in the way here?