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Performance Tax effort gains steam

 - New York Democrat takes baton from Watt

Efforts by the record labels to impose a new performance royalty on radio broadcasters have a new champion on Capitol Hill in the name of Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York.

Nadler reportedly is circulating draft legislation similar to a previous version that would require radio stations to pay higher streaming fees. He also is said to be considering adding an over-the-air performance royalty on stations as proposed most recently by former Rep. Mel Watt, D-North Carolina.

Watt resigned his Congressional seat in January to run the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Nadler’s effort begins as some musicians undertake a so-called grassroots campaign using social media called “I Respect Music” urging artists and the public to call on Congress for a new royalty structure.

The group claims “artists don’t get paid for radio airplay,” despite the fact that broadcasters pay upward of $7 billion annually to songwriters and composers.  Nor does the group note the value of free radio airplay to the record, concert ticket and merchandising sales performers enjoy.

Congressional opposition to yet another mandate on radio broadcasters, however, continues to grow as more members co-sponsor H. Con. Res. 16, The Local Radio Freedom Act.  The measure would forestall efforts to force stations to pay what essentially would be a Performance Tax.

Opponents of a Performance Tax generally urge the industries to resolve the disagreement in private, free-market negotiations, instead of pushing for a government mandate.

To date, H. Con. Res. 16 has 188 co-sponsors, 30 short of a majority.  It is co-authored by Reps. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, and Gene Green, D-Houston, and has the support of 15 other Texas members of Congress – more than any other state.

TAB is working with local broadcasters throughout the state and their lawmakers in an effort to reach majority support for the resolution this spring.

Questions?  Contact TAB's Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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