Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Congress may be in summer recess, but the goliaths of commercial broadcasting interests are settling in for more battles in the debate over the Performance Rights Act.

In a nutshell: the Recording Industry Artists Association and the National Association of Broadcasters, formerly allies in the fight against "illegal" downloads of music, are fighting over the remaining crumbs of profit left from the broken business model of commercial radio.

The fight is really nothing new. RIAA has been agitating for performance royalties from commercial radio since forever. But what's relevant is that NAB is now feeling the pain of legislation is lobbied for to kill online streaming (and which RIAA was happy to endorse as well) to keep listeners tuned in over the air.

RIAA is now seeing their members, performers, are better served by a different compensation model. One that targets the multiple platforms where music is being consumed, such as iPods, laptops, mp3 players and so on. I listen to all my music on my laptop, hooked up to speakers that I downloaded from iTunes. I maybe buy 3 CD's in a year; I bought 10 albums on iTunes.

Time for NAB to upgrade its business model. Time for them to get some technological savvy. Time for them to play some music people might actually want to listen to.

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