What did we learn from Tuesday’s SaveNetRadio.com’s Day of Silence?
Start with Capitol Hill getting the message loud, clear and without buffering.
Play fair not pay fare.
It should be reason for recording artists to rethink their position on siphoning royalty rates from Internet radio, the majority of which do not turn a profit, but give exposure to artists who would otherwise get little to none from traditional media.
More important - their fans are against it.
Most important to artists – Consider the source. The labels. Do you really believe you’ll ever see any royalties?
It was somewhat disappointing that only half of all U.S. Internet radio streamers participated. Even a few terrestrial radio groups like Greater Media, Saga, Cox, and Lincoln Financial took their streams silent. CBS Radio and Clear Channel didn’t.
Now, for the question that counts. Was this protest enough to influence Capitol Hill to challenge the Copyright Review Board’s royalty rates?
It’s not like Save the Net has high powered influence peddlers on its payroll. In fact, they don’t even have a payroll.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Congress investigated the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)? Now, that’s entertainment! There are enough illegalities in that org to keep a bunko squad busy for years.
Even the RIAA’s name is misleading. Only two of the “big four” label groups (which control close to 80 percent of the market) are American owned and operated.
That's a whole lot of foreigners having significant influence on Capitol Hill.
Here’s the dilemma. Satellite and cable channels are already paying the royalty freight. Exempting Internet radio will be a tough call.
Prove me wrong. I don’t see Capitol Hill blocking this deal or doing anything of substance in one direction or another. The House and Senate? They're on their extended July 4th holiday break. By the time they get around to doing something it may be too late.
The RIAA is sanguine that come July 15, they’ll just have to deal with terrestrial, satellite, and cable radio – the three mediums that register chart positions for their product in R&R and Billboard.
Their palms must be raw from high fiving each other when they got the Librarian of Congress to play their game.
Here’s the problem when dealing with the House and Senate. They’re adept at knowing things they don’t know you know so they can’t tell you. Other times they know things they don’t want to tell you. Other times they just lie.
Actually, the labels and the Hill have one thing in common. Both burn through their expense accounts after a tough day of sexually harassing their - depending on preference - male or female interns.
Who knows what terrestrial radio will do? To paraphrase that NRA slogan: If only terrestrial radio can afford the royalties, only terrestrial radio will be on the net. Either that or they’ll play the beauty contest card to please shareholders by telling them how much money will be saved by dismantling their streaming divisions.
To Internet radio operators, all who listen to them, and artists looking for exposure – July 15 is the due date. Between now and then - don’t give up the fight.