Internet Radio Fairness Act Hearing on Capitol Hill

The National Music Publishers' Association gathered on Capitol Hill Nov. 28 to host a Songwriter Showcase in Washington, DC. (L-R): Lee Thomas Miller ("You're Gonna Miss This"), BC Jean ("If I Were a Boy"), Kara DioGuardi ("Sober"), NMPA President & CEO David Israelite, Linda Perry ("Beautiful"), Desmond Child ("Livin' On A Prayer"). Photo Credit: Susan Biddle

A hearing on Capitol Hill this morning (11/28) will give opposing parties a chance to weigh in on a proposed digital royalty bill called the Internet Radio Fairness Act. The webcast is streaming live at at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Among those testifying in opposition of the bill is Jimmy Jam, speaking on behalf of the Recording Academy. According to the organization, “This bill would dramatically cut the royalties that Internet radio services like Pandora pay to music creators, while doing nothing to close the loophole that allows AM/FM radio to pay nothing at all.” Their site is at

ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and NSAI also oppose the bill, pointing to “gross inequities that have developed in the music licensing landscape as a result of opposing rate setting systems applied to the amounts paid to songwriters, composers and publishers versus those paid to record labels and recording artists.” A letter from the parties states: “Pandora’s 2012 annual report stated that it paid 49.7% of its revenue in royalties to SoundExchange, and 4.1% of its revenue in royalties to the US PROs, namely, ASCAP, SESAC, and BMI. In other words, from the total pool of monies paid for the performance of music and sound recordings, almost 92% of the money paid by internet radio flows to record labels and performing artists through SoundExchange, and only 8% of it is paid to songwriters and publisher.” The NMPA and NSAI presented a songwriter showcase this morning in DC featuring Lee Miller, Kara DioGuardi, Linda Perry, Desmond Child, and BC Jean.

Proponents of the bill include Pandora’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Joe Kennedy, who will testify.

The hearing is officially titled “Music Licensing Part One: Legislation in the 112th Congress,” and is hosted by the House Committee on the Judiciary – Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet. Federal lawmakers are not expected to take action until next year.

Also expected to testify are National Association of Broadcasters president Bruce Reese, SoundExchange president Michael Huppe, Venrock Capital’s David Pakman, and Navigant Economics Jeffrey Eisenach.

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For a practical look at the matter, read an editorial posted by Thirty Tigers President David Macias on hypebot.


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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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