The debate between radio and the record labels over the payment of performance royalties continues to slog through a quagmire of conflicting views. Inside Radio recently conducted an unscientific poll which shows that 75% of its readers believe, “It’s a tactical error to concede that radio should pay for the performance of music.” One reader noted, “The political climate dictates we cut bait and move on. Plus then we can focus our collective efforts on growing and expanding our industry instead of defending and holding on to what is rapidly becoming an outdated business model.”
Earlier in the week both the NAB and MusicFirst issued a flurry of announcements, but things have quieted down. Apart from discussion over the setting of actual rates, is the demand promoted by the NAB that all portable products such as smart phones and MP3 players be equipped with FM radio chips. This issue is especially alienating the Consumer Electronics Industry. CEA head Gary Shapiro told the NAB this week, “[CEA] has yet to identify one member of Congress willing to support your attempt to impose old FM technology on new portable products.” Shapiro promised to highlight to decision makers that radio is a “legacy horse and buggy industry. Its refusal to innovate … raises questions about the ongoing wisdom of broadcaster use of publicly owned spectrum that could be better used for broadband services that serve the public interest.”
It appears that all sides are still very much in a fluid stance of negotiation with consensus still a distant goal.