WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan testified on Tuesday in front of the House Judiciary Committee, arguing for passage of the Performance Rights Act. The Performance Rights Act, which is currently wending its way through congress, includes provisions that would require radio stations to make royalty payments to artists much as they do now with songwriters and composers.
"The issue is one of fundamental fairness," Corgan told the committee during his testimony. "Simply put, if a station plays a song, both the author and the performer should be paid. These particular performances must have value to the stations or they wouldn't be playing them."
Unsurprisingly, Broadcasters both large and small have come out against the legislation. Many station owners argue that the act would be a death knell for smaller broadcasters. Station owners warned that many in the industry are already struggling due to declining advertising revenue and that new artists would find it difficult to break if station managers are increasingly forced into risk aversion.
The bill does contain provisions to protect smaller stations, giving broadcasters with less than 1.25 million in annual revenue access to a flat fee unlimited license and public radio will enjoy special protections as well.
Traditionally, artists have been excluded from royalty payments under the assumption that airplay was promotional for them but as record sales dwindle, artists have been pushed to look to other sources of revenue, however broadcasters are urging lawmakers and artists to look elsewhere.
"The recording industry is living in a fantasy world that is divorced from the critical depressed financial position in which almost every radio station finds itself today," said Larry Patrick, a broadcaster from Wyoming told the committee. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers