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While the major label industry is up in arms about collecting royalties from streaming internet stations, many artists are asking the question, “Why make internet pay when terrestrial NEVER has?” The newly developed MusicFIRST Coalition is a partnership between artists and a number of industry organizations aimed at succeeding where the RIAA has failed- protecting musicians and fighting for fair practices. A number of big name artists are participating in the coalition including Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, John Legend, Don Henley and many more, however the rights they are fighting for are intended to compensate everyone from songwriters to back up singers, major label acts to unsigned ones.

The first order of business is collecting royalties from corporate radio play. “Of all the ways we listen to music, “Corporate Radio” is the only medium that refuses to pay performers even a fraction of a penny for their voice and creativity,” said Mark Kadesh, Executive Director of musicFIRST. “This campaign is about making sure everyone, from up-and-coming artists to our favorites from years-ago, is guaranteed fair treatment when their music is played.”

The RIAA has proposed a “performance tax” for local radio, a proposition the National Association of Broadcasters has sworn to “fight aggressively.” NAB argues that radio exposure makes millions of dollars for labels via record sales, and should therefore be seen as ‘free promotion.’ They also call out singer John Legend for being a part of the coalition, but appearing in a NAB ad campaign years ago thanking radio for their support. Whatever.

With radio losing such a big portion of their audience over the years and record sales declining across the board, does NAB have a leg to stand on with this issue? Should terrestrial radio be paying out royalties for the music they play?

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