New Law Will Put Billions Into Artists’ Pockets, If Big Brother Doesn’t Stop it.

By Moses Avalon

There is a chapter of Confessions of a Record Producer which I would really like to retire. But even after ten years on the bookshelf and four Editions, I can’t do it. It’s the chapter on why US artists do not get paid for radio play.I get many emails on this.

It’s blatantly unfair that songwriters get a performance fee when their composition is broadcast on the radio but the artist gets zilch.The reasons why this law evolved in this cock-eyed way are irrelevant at this time. Satellite Radio pays artists fees for the Master as does internet radio. Regardless, terrestrial radio (that’s AM and FM) refuses.

But a reckoning is coming. In fact, it’s here and your participation is needed.

An important Bill just passed the first milestone. A sub-committee in the US House of Representatives approved a law that would create a performance fee for the sound recording, putting between $500 and $800 Million A YEAR, in new revenue into the music business.

We should be sending out party invitations, except that there is serous opposition to crush the Bill when it gets to the next level, the Senate Judiciary Committee in September.

The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) are doing whatever they can to stop their wallets from getting thinner. We expected this, but then, there are some surprise guests on the opposition dance card: ASCAP and BMI.They feel that it might (emphasis on “might”) carve a small dent in their $2 Billion a year “non-profit” revenue streams, because radio paying artists for the first time might mean it pays songwriters less. (Even though many of their members are both.Hummm.)

The reality is, if it carves into a publishing revenue stream it won’t be in any significant way.SoASCAP will throw one less party next year to make up the difference. Or each CEO will have to take $200,000 less as a bonus for their “non-profit” efforts. C’mon, guys, see the greater good.

And certainly ASCAP has.They’ve backed off a bit. But their competitor, BMI has a conflict: Jack Sander, Chairman of BMI’s board….is also the Chairman of NAB’s Board!!

How in the Sam Hell does this happen?!!! The guy who is supposed to make sure that broadcasters are paying every dime to publishers is also the guy who works for the broadcasters. (And some people think I’m paranoid.) Source.

It’s hard enough to fight the corporate raiders without having to deal with Civil War and subterfuge within our own industry.


The next step for the Bill is the Senate Judiciary Committee in September.We MUST win there and here’s how we do it:

I want you to write a simple letter to your representative, TODAY.I’ve made it very easy for you.Below is a list of the ones we need to reach and I’ve pasted a letter to follow.You may copy the letter or do your own version with something personalized.

Do this TODAY.Get it done so we can join the ranks of the rest of the civilized world and get artists paid for radio play.

We Will Never Have This Chance To Correct ThisLongStandingWrongAgain!

Please Get Involved!

If you don’t, then forever stop complaining to me that it’s hard to make a living as a musician.We know it is, let’s not let the NAB make it even harder.


Now I know there are a few anarchists on this list who think, “Screw this.Let the music business burn.”Often I agree, but thinking like that now, would be the wrong application of the right idea.

With retail sales shifting, this is money artists could really use to weather the transition.And it’s money that artists would actually see, not some phantom check for some weird class action BS that only goes to super stars.Everyone would be eligible for a piece of the pie if you’re getting spins on FM or AM radio.

And even if you’re not, the trickle down effect of this new revenue would single-handedly rejuvenate investment opportunities in the record biz. More money for labels/artists means more money spent on development and more new artists getting a chance. It means more studios and more producers making more recordings, more managers making commissions, and more lawyers facilitating transactions.

So this effects EVERYBODY.



Dear Senator _____

I am one of your constituents who derives a significant part of my living from musical recordings. I am not a superstar, so, unlike the minority of recording artists who tour, sell merchandise and do national commercials, the only money I can make from my music is the sale and licensing of the recording.

Commercial radio earns billions every year selling advertising, but people rarely listen to radio for the commercials.It’s the music that draws them in and radio stations are well aware of this fact. But right now, the artists who create that music and the labels who invest in creating the music aren’t compensated for this commercial use of their product.

Not having this right puts us in company with North Korea, China and Iran. We are the only free-market democratic country without this right.

The Bill before you, S. 2500 Performance Right Act means keeping the US consistent with other nations when it comes to compensating people like me for their work when it’s played on commercial radio.

Please show your support for fairness to musicians by co-sponsoring S. 2500, the Performance Rights Act. H.R. S. 2500 is balanced legislation that deserves your careful consideration and enthusiastic support.

Thank you,

Your signature


The Senators we need to contact are:

Alabama – Jeff Sessions-R

Arizona – Jon Kyl-R

Delaware – Joseph Biden-D

Illinois – Richard Durbin-D

Iowa – Charles Grassley-R

Kansas – Sam Brownback-R

Maryland – Ben Cardin-D

Massachusetts – Ted Kennedy-D

New York – Chuck Schumer-D

Pennsylvania – Arlen Specter-R

Rhode Island – Sheldon Whitehouse-D

South Carolina – Lindsey Graham-R

Texas – John Cornyn-R

Wisconsin – Herb Kohl-D

Wisconsin – Russell Feingold-D

If you live or work in any of the states above please get this done ASAP.Ask them to support S. 2500 Performance Right Act.

You can CALL their office as well as write. Phone calls work sometimes better than letters.Emails are also fine.Just get it done one way or another.

If you don’t see the names or contact information for your legislators, Google them or go to for help.


Once you are at, click on the “Take Action” button.Type in your zip code number, and follow the prompts to send your message.

More info.



  1. Patrick Landreville Bald Ego Music says:

    No mystery as to BMI’s conflict of interest. BMI was founded in 1939 by radio execs as a way to shut out and quash ASCAP. They would rather pay themselves than pay ascap for the use of music. Nothings changed since then. Opposition by ASCAP is certainly a mystery though. The NAB won’t be paying ASCAP or BMI any less, those blanket licences are dirt cheap now, one percent respectively, two percent total. The NAB is fighting so hard because it means taking another small cut in profits. Profits that were in fact garnered through the unpaid use of exploited musician’s works.

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