Dear RIAA: Please get your royalties from terrestrial radio

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Steve from the Wicked Good Podcast points us all to this LA Times article. Short version: the RIAA wants more money, and is tired of radio freeloading off of its content library. They want to extract performance royalties from terrestrial radio just as they want for every other form of media in which their artists are played.

To which I say:

You go, RIAA! Please, please, PLEASE demand money from radio stations. Please ask for as much money as you can in your demands from ClearChannel. Please make terrestrial radio PAY!

Why?

Because this could be a major opportunity for both podcasting and podsafe musicians. Working together, working as a coalition, we can offer terrestrial radio an alternative to paying huge bills from the RIAA. The arrangement is as clear as day – free play for free promotion. I’ll tell you as a podcaster, and I’ll put it out here publicly, that terrestrial radio stations may play the Financial Aid Podcast free of charge. I hereby waive the non-commercial clause of the Creative Commons license for any FCC-licensed terrestrial radio station. Please play my stuff.

For podsafe artists – NOW would be a great time to make sure your EPK is looking great. Now would be a great time to make sure that your marketing and sales teams are on hot standby, because if the RIAA successfully overturns the federal exemption on performance royalties, simple economics will favor the podsafe independent artist over the RIAA-signed artist, but you’ve got to have your stuff together, your quality as good or better than what’s currently on commercial radio, and have pre-drafted paperwork for radio stations.

As with many empires, the downfall of the music industry empire must come from within, and they’re doing a bang up job. Thanks, guys.


Comments

43 responses to “Dear RIAA: Please get your royalties from terrestrial radio”

  1. Part of me agrees with you totally, but then part of me thinks about all the college radio and small town stations that may be shut down because of this since they wouldn’t be able to cover the fees.

    Don’t get me wrong. Anything that makes Clear Channel’s pockets lighter is cool in my book, but I don’t want it to crush the little guys.

  2. This is awesome, Chris! I’ve been running an internet radio station via Live365 since 1999 (Exploit Boston Radio most recently since 2003) and I think I’ve finally reached the point where I’m just going to ask bands to sign waivers and be done with the whole RIAA/etc insanity. Or maybe it’s not insanity, based on what you’ve written. Aha! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Part of me agrees with you totally, but then part of me thinks about all the college radio and small town stations that may be shut down because of this since they wouldn’t be able to cover the fees.

    Don’t get me wrong. Anything that makes Clear Channel’s pockets lighter is cool in my book, but I don’t want it to crush the little guys.

  4. This is awesome, Chris! I’ve been running an internet radio station via Live365 since 1999 (Exploit Boston Radio most recently since 2003) and I think I’ve finally reached the point where I’m just going to ask bands to sign waivers and be done with the whole RIAA/etc insanity. Or maybe it’s not insanity, based on what you’ve written. Aha! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. CC: Ideally they’ll turn to podsafe music instead. We need a coalition of some kind to act as a clearinghouse for terrestrial radio. IODA? The PMN? Something else? I don’t know – but the opportunity is there.

  6. Amen to that. This could certainly speed things up. However, if it happens or not, the result is the same in the long run. RIAA music loses, and Independent music wins.

  7. What would really bring it home? If someone was to start up a NON-RIAA/PodSafe Music Terrestrial radio station… play nothing but Podsafe or artists which do not subscribe to RIAA’s montra…

  8. Les – ideally, all those terrestrial stations who didn’t want to fork over money to the RIAA could use the promo-for-play arrangement with podsafe musicians. Ask Matthew Ebel or Natalie Gelman or Munk if they would mind being spun on 95.5 WPLJ in New York City… as long as the DJ got the URL right.

  9. Do I smell a forthcoming massive PR campaign to assault radio stations with non-RIAA music?

    Pax,
    Matthew

  10. Reminds me of this post I made prior to Bum Rush The Charts
    http://mesoed.blogspot.com/2007/03/independent-music-on-launch-pad.html

    It certainly can be a good thing for independent music, but there is still one monkey left on our back: The whole internet radio controversy.

    The new revisions include giving SoundForge (run by the RIAA) the right to collect money from ANY music played on the internet, including those musicians that are not a part of the RIAA. The wording is still dubious, and I’m unsure if podcasting is included in this and if the license at the PMN or IODA is valid against this. Exceptions may need to be filed individually to SoundForge by each artist or per song. Either way, given the moves made by the RIAA lately regarding additional charges for licensing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them extend this to traditional radio as well.

    A lot of crazy things going on in music right now as the industry tries to redefine itself. Music sales are sagging at the big labels, but are UP as a whole. That alone should show you how much of a force independent music is becoming.

  11. Nice take on this Chris. We Internet radio stations are being asked to do all the heavy lifting, while Clearchannel gets off free. Sooz, you mention getting artists to sign a waiver. The RIAA says they can’t. That’s the second half of this ruling, the payment is mandatory, so a band doesn’t have the right to waive their own royalties to Internet radio. And when internet radio can’t go podsafe, how long before the RIAA says podcasts can’t go podsafe?

  12. Nice take on this Chris. We Internet radio stations are being asked to do all the heavy lifting, while Clearchannel gets off free. Sooz, you mention getting artists to sign a waiver. The RIAA says they can’t. That’s the second half of this ruling, the payment is mandatory, so a band doesn’t have the right to waive their own royalties to Internet radio. And when internet radio can’t go podsafe, how long before the RIAA says podcasts can’t go podsafe?

  13. @Matthew Ebel… I like that ๐Ÿ™‚ Bum Rush the Radio Station. Sign me up!

  14. @Matthew Ebel… I like that ๐Ÿ™‚ Bum Rush the Radio Station. Sign me up!

  15. You know, I wonder how hard it would be to get a state attorney general to give this as much scrutiny as Andrew Cuomo has been giving the student loan business… mandatory payments that never make it to artists… hmm.

  16. You know, I wonder how hard it would be to get a state attorney general to give this as much scrutiny as Andrew Cuomo has been giving the student loan business… mandatory payments that never make it to artists… hmm.

  17. Hmm. Now all you’d have to do is make sure the RIAA doesn’t start collecting royalties on non-RIAA members… which it says it actually CAN do.

    http://slashdot.org/articles/07/04/29/0335224.shtml

  18. Hmm. Now all you’d have to do is make sure the RIAA doesn’t start collecting royalties on non-RIAA members… which it says it actually CAN do.

    http://slashdot.org/articles/07/04/29/0335224.shtml

  19. Brings up an interesting question – what’s the jurisdiction of the RIAA outside of the US? i.e. if I had my show produced or hosted outside the US, say, in Sweden, I wonder how the law would apply.

  20. Brings up an interesting question – what’s the jurisdiction of the RIAA outside of the US? i.e. if I had my show produced or hosted outside the US, say, in Sweden, I wonder how the law would apply.

  21. Some more deep reading indicates this from Slashdot:

    The original article reflects a complete misunderstanding of the compulsory license system. It’s compulsory against owners of rights in sound recordings. They have to grant a license whether they want to or not. However, there’s nothing prohibiting owners of sound recordings and a distribution service of whatever type from making a deal outside the compulsory license system.

    For example, someone could set up a Free Music Foundation to offer free licenses to Internet radio stations, unknown bands could grant distribution rights for their stuff to the Free Music Foundation, and Internet “radio stations” (really streaming download sites) could play exclusively Free Music Foundation material, without any compulsory license or statutory royalties.

    Or, at the other extreme, you could have Payola Internet Radio, where bands pay to put their stuff on the stream. Again, no statutory royalties.

    I think we need a free music foundation, don’t you?

  22. Some more deep reading indicates this from Slashdot:

    The original article reflects a complete misunderstanding of the compulsory license system. It’s compulsory against owners of rights in sound recordings. They have to grant a license whether they want to or not. However, there’s nothing prohibiting owners of sound recordings and a distribution service of whatever type from making a deal outside the compulsory license system.

    For example, someone could set up a Free Music Foundation to offer free licenses to Internet radio stations, unknown bands could grant distribution rights for their stuff to the Free Music Foundation, and Internet “radio stations” (really streaming download sites) could play exclusively Free Music Foundation material, without any compulsory license or statutory royalties.

    Or, at the other extreme, you could have Payola Internet Radio, where bands pay to put their stuff on the stream. Again, no statutory royalties.

    I think we need a free music foundation, don’t you?

  23. some radio stations already podcast- so if the RIAA license puts them out of business- turn on the podcast! Use podsafe music! Find a way around before shutting our doors forever! Think how fast the RIAA will change its mind when there are even fewer outlets to promote its music in the de novo setting of radio?
    Not many people will buy music they haven’t yet heard at all, esp. since pay per song is available on itunes. No radio stations around? Far fewer outlets for new bands- they’ll either come running to podcasts in general, or change their mind pretty quickly when their revnue model sends ’em straight out of business all together.

  24. some radio stations already podcast- so if the RIAA license puts them out of business- turn on the podcast! Use podsafe music! Find a way around before shutting our doors forever! Think how fast the RIAA will change its mind when there are even fewer outlets to promote its music in the de novo setting of radio?
    Not many people will buy music they haven’t yet heard at all, esp. since pay per song is available on itunes. No radio stations around? Far fewer outlets for new bands- they’ll either come running to podcasts in general, or change their mind pretty quickly when their revnue model sends ’em straight out of business all together.

  25. Remember- We don’t need no stinkin’ transmitters

  26. Remember- We don’t need no stinkin’ transmitters

  27. man, as a recording artist myself, i am once again at a loss… the more the riaa tries to “clean up” the music biz, or whatever it is they think they’re doing, the more they’re screwing shit up.

    my band, lovespirals, is so totally caught up in the middle of all this confusion. on the one hand, we want to collect whatever money is due to us for inclusion on tv, cable, and film — so we’ve had to be signed up with bmi/ascap what-have-you. but on the other hand, we aren’t a big time clear channel band, so we want to be played on podcasts and internet radio. we’ve got music up on the podsafe music network, garageband, etc… i consider myself to be an indie artist, but i fear that hardline folks out there would see me as some sort of traitor for actually collecting royalties from mtv, vh1, et al. but come on, as an indie band, you really have to take what you can get, because you’re only selling a few thousand cds and the music gear, recording hardware and software, and promotions — not to mention our time — all cost us way more than what we make back from cd sales.

    but as an internet radio dj and podcaster myself, i certainly don’t want to have to choose being paying the riaa or shutting down. i play bands that want to be played and have asked to be played, which is really the best way to go all the way around. why can’t it just be simple and honest? i just know they want to charge EVERYONE fees regardless of what their content actually is. they’d happily charge “podsafe” podcasters and djs fees that would end up going into the pockets of the major label bands, instead of the indie artists that were played. the riaa just want to make sweeping, across the board laws that benefit the top of the heap moguls that have surely set this monster into motion.

    it all just leaves me feeling bitter and disempowered.

  28. man, as a recording artist myself, i am once again at a loss… the more the riaa tries to “clean up” the music biz, or whatever it is they think they’re doing, the more they’re screwing shit up.

    my band, lovespirals, is so totally caught up in the middle of all this confusion. on the one hand, we want to collect whatever money is due to us for inclusion on tv, cable, and film — so we’ve had to be signed up with bmi/ascap what-have-you. but on the other hand, we aren’t a big time clear channel band, so we want to be played on podcasts and internet radio. we’ve got music up on the podsafe music network, garageband, etc… i consider myself to be an indie artist, but i fear that hardline folks out there would see me as some sort of traitor for actually collecting royalties from mtv, vh1, et al. but come on, as an indie band, you really have to take what you can get, because you’re only selling a few thousand cds and the music gear, recording hardware and software, and promotions — not to mention our time — all cost us way more than what we make back from cd sales.

    but as an internet radio dj and podcaster myself, i certainly don’t want to have to choose being paying the riaa or shutting down. i play bands that want to be played and have asked to be played, which is really the best way to go all the way around. why can’t it just be simple and honest? i just know they want to charge EVERYONE fees regardless of what their content actually is. they’d happily charge “podsafe” podcasters and djs fees that would end up going into the pockets of the major label bands, instead of the indie artists that were played. the riaa just want to make sweeping, across the board laws that benefit the top of the heap moguls that have surely set this monster into motion.

    it all just leaves me feeling bitter and disempowered.

  29. Great comments, energy here. I feel key point isn’t hurting Clear Channel’s pockets. I feel key point is shutting down-the asshat RIAA. It’s these gangster’s in suits that are ruining the party for everyone.

    Do I want good indie music available everywhere-hell yeah! Radio, internet radio, podcasts…

    Clear Channel is not the enemy folks-Rancid Institutionalized Archaic Agressors!

  30. Great comments, energy here. I feel key point isn’t hurting Clear Channel’s pockets. I feel key point is shutting down-the asshat RIAA. It’s these gangster’s in suits that are ruining the party for everyone.

    Do I want good indie music available everywhere-hell yeah! Radio, internet radio, podcasts…

    Clear Channel is not the enemy folks-Rancid Institutionalized Archaic Agressors!

  31. CC: Ideally they’ll turn to podsafe music instead. We need a coalition of some kind to act as a clearinghouse for terrestrial radio. IODA? The PMN? Something else? I don’t know – but the opportunity is there.

  32. Amen to that. This could certainly speed things up. However, if it happens or not, the result is the same in the long run. RIAA music loses, and Independent music wins.

  33. What would really bring it home? If someone was to start up a NON-RIAA/PodSafe Music Terrestrial radio station… play nothing but Podsafe or artists which do not subscribe to RIAA’s montra…

  34. Les – ideally, all those terrestrial stations who didn’t want to fork over money to the RIAA could use the promo-for-play arrangement with podsafe musicians. Ask Matthew Ebel or Natalie Gelman or Munk if they would mind being spun on 95.5 WPLJ in New York City… as long as the DJ got the URL right.

  35. Do I smell a forthcoming massive PR campaign to assault radio stations with non-RIAA music?

    Pax,
    Matthew

  36. Reminds me of this post I made prior to Bum Rush The Charts
    http://mesoed.blogspot.com/2007/03/independent-music-on-launch-pad.html

    It certainly can be a good thing for independent music, but there is still one monkey left on our back: The whole internet radio controversy.

    The new revisions include giving SoundForge (run by the RIAA) the right to collect money from ANY music played on the internet, including those musicians that are not a part of the RIAA. The wording is still dubious, and I’m unsure if podcasting is included in this and if the license at the PMN or IODA is valid against this. Exceptions may need to be filed individually to SoundForge by each artist or per song. Either way, given the moves made by the RIAA lately regarding additional charges for licensing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them extend this to traditional radio as well.

    A lot of crazy things going on in music right now as the industry tries to redefine itself. Music sales are sagging at the big labels, but are UP as a whole. That alone should show you how much of a force independent music is becoming.

  37. I like the idea Matthew has… Bum Rush The Station… Let’s start a campaign to have radio stations play Podsafe music – pick a station, we email/call/carrier pigeon them with the artist name and song! Let’s do this!

  38. I like the idea Matthew has… Bum Rush The Station… Let’s start a campaign to have radio stations play Podsafe music – pick a station, we email/call/carrier pigeon them with the artist name and song! Let’s do this!

  39. Once again biting the hands that feed– what if terrestrial radio stations got sick and tired of promoting those major label records and paying for the privilege? Not that simple I know, but it is a symbiotic relationship.

    Radio stations could stand to get a little more creative in their playlists– ok, a lot.

  40. Once again biting the hands that feed– what if terrestrial radio stations got sick and tired of promoting those major label records and paying for the privilege? Not that simple I know, but it is a symbiotic relationship.

    Radio stations could stand to get a little more creative in their playlists– ok, a lot.

  41. David vs. Goliath: the battle of royalty rates for Internet radio

    As part of the ever changing landscape of digital distribution and promotion it is essential that we all take a leading role in maintaining those avenues best suited for exploiting creative art. A thriving market place is synonymous with equal rights and fair payment due to labels and artists. However, as some businesses begin within the confines of an incubator we must all do our good will and help nurse these frail children of commerce to prosperous businessmen. In order to help the struggling internet radio stations compete with the standards of their industry we must allow for low royalty rates until such time when these companies gain a fair market share. Webcasting and Internet radio have proven to be a vital commodity in the dissemination of societies greatest free opinion platform; music. This is simply another evolution of the current American trend. American law is evolving towards more recognition of moral rights. This is our time to make an example of the conscience in music business! Within the moral commonwealth, when one prospers we all thrive. Join the American Association if Independent Music ( A2IM.org) in the ongoing public discussion of non-terrestrial webcasting royalty rates.

    -The Militia Group

  42. David vs. Goliath: the battle of royalty rates for Internet radio

    As part of the ever changing landscape of digital distribution and promotion it is essential that we all take a leading role in maintaining those avenues best suited for exploiting creative art. A thriving market place is synonymous with equal rights and fair payment due to labels and artists. However, as some businesses begin within the confines of an incubator we must all do our good will and help nurse these frail children of commerce to prosperous businessmen. In order to help the struggling internet radio stations compete with the standards of their industry we must allow for low royalty rates until such time when these companies gain a fair market share. Webcasting and Internet radio have proven to be a vital commodity in the dissemination of societies greatest free opinion platform; music. This is simply another evolution of the current American trend. American law is evolving towards more recognition of moral rights. This is our time to make an example of the conscience in music business! Within the moral commonwealth, when one prospers we all thrive. Join the American Association if Independent Music ( A2IM.org) in the ongoing public discussion of non-terrestrial webcasting royalty rates.

    -The Militia Group

  43. The RIAA is now making terrestrial radio pay for using their content library. Was it free for terrestrial radio to use the content library? If so, it must suck to have to pay for the content. But, I see how this can be beneficial for podcasters. Does terrestrial radio promote the podcasts? If you guys can work out a deal then everybody should walk away happy.

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