WASHINGTON, DC — NAB today issued a statement responding to a press release from musicFIRST, an organization backed by the Recording Industry Association of America. The musicFIRST press release contained a statement attributed to U2 lead singer Bono, in which the rock-star expressed support for an RIAA-led effort to begin charging radio stations for music aired free to listeners. Bono’s statement was aimed at supporting “many young recording artists out there,” according to the musicFIRST news release.
Responding to the musicFIRST news release, NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton issued the following statement.
“The irony is that it will be the less-established performers who will be hurt most by a performance tax. If radio stations are forced to pay to play music, program directors will be less likely to take a chance playing unknown artists and will instead stick with established musicians like Bono. New artists and niche formats will suffer, and Bono and Britney Spears will become wealthier.”
In a March interview with a WHDH-TV Boston news reporter, Bono explained why his band chose to hold a free concert in Boston. “It’s worth remembering that U2, you know we broke in the United States through Boston and through radio stations like BCN and stuff like that,” Bono said, referring to Boston rock station WBCN-FM. “We depend on radio,” he continued.
To watch video from WHDH-TV’s interview, visit the station’s Web site, and click “Watch the video.”
Today’s statement comes as the RIAA continues to press Congress to pass legislation that would require local radio stations to pay a new fee for music aired free to listeners. Countering the RIAA-backed legislation is the Local Radio Freedom Act (H. Con. Res. 49, S. Con. Res. 14), which opposes “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” on local radio stations.
“Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings,” reads the Local Radio Freedom Act.
On numerous occasions, both record label executives and artists have recognized the promotional value of free radio airplay. Such statements include:
“You can’t take being played on the radio for granted,” Strait said. “There are only so many spots and many great singers out there wanting one. It’s a jungle out there.”
— George Strait in an April 3, 2009 interview with Radio & Records.
“I have so many friends out there. I think back over the years now, and it’s amazing how much of my life has been impacted by radio people.”
— Brad Paisley, speaking during an interview with Radio Ink’s Brida Connolly, February, 2009
“Let me tell you four letters that mean a whole lot to me. Four letters that have changed the course of my career. Four letters out of 26. W-Y-C-D.”
— John Rich, Big and Rich, speaking on stage during the station’s “Ten Man Jam” concert, February, 2009
“Thank You Radio!! 4 Grammy Awards Last Night!!!”
— Lil Wayne in an email sent to radio stations across the country the day after he received four Grammy Awards, February 9, 2009
“Itâ„¢s mainly radio, actually. Iâ„¢ll hear a song, very often in the car, and buy the CD.”
— Paul McCartney on where he finds new music. Entertainment Weekly, February 5, 2009
“I was homeless for about a year and I went back to singing, ’cause that’s what I grew up doing with my dad as a child. We made our money by bar-singing. So I was looking for a place to sing, and it was my own material. And after about a year of being homeless and doing that, a radio station played one of my songs on the air — a bootleg. I didn’t have any demos. I wasn’t trying to get signed. But a record label heard it, and all the sudden it was like being Cinderella. Limousines started showing up.”
— Jewel, Grammy-nominated recording artist, NBC’s ‘Today,’ September 2008
“Alright, let’s talk about the nuts and bolts. If you win ‘Nashville Star’, you have to get on 200 major market radio stations. You have to.”
— John Rich, Big and Rich, ‘Nashville Star,’ July 2008
“I love a strong radio hit. … That’s what our job is, to have a radio hit. Without radio, we couldn’t do what we do, but the job is to have a radio hit that sounds unique, and like you.”
— Jewel, Grammy-nominated recording artist, ‘Nashville Star,’ July 2008
— Alicia Keys, recording artist and Grammy winner, 2008 Grammy Awards, February 2008
“[R]adio remains the best way to get new music into the listeners’ lives.”
–Sony BMG Executive VP Butch Waugh as quoted in Radio & Records, January 11
“[R]adio is the conduit to the people, the voice of the format and the lifestyle’s soundtrack.
-Sony BMG Nashville VP of Marketing Tom Baldrica, as quoted in Radio & Records, January 11
“Obviously, radio is probably the most important thing for a new rock band coming out. If you don’t get yourself on the radio, then you won’t draw bodies at the clubs and you won’t sell records.”
— ‘Another Animal’ drummer Shannon Larkin, Drum Magazine, 2008
“Country radio, thank you so much for being our mouthpiece. You know what we do means nothing if it never gets played, and no one gets to hear it.”
— ‘Rascal Flatts,’ Vocal Group of the Year, Country Music Awards, 2007
“I can’t even believe that this is real… I want to thank country radio. I’ll never forget the chance you took on me.”
— Taylor Swift, Horizon Award (for best new artist), Country Music Awards, 2007
“I have yet to see the big reaction you want to see to a hit until it goes on the radio. I’m a big, big fan of radio.”
–Richard Palmese, Executive Vice President of Promotion, RCA, 2007
“Radio has proven itself time and time again to be the biggest vehicle to expose new music.”
— Ken Lane, Senior Vice President for Promotion, Island Def Jam Music Group, 2005
“It is clearly the number one way that we’re getting our music exposed. Nothing else affects retail sales the way terrestrial radio does.”
–Tom Biery, Senior Vice President for Promotion, Warner Bros. Records, 2005
“That’s the most important thing for a label, getting your records played.”
— Eddie Daye, recording artist, 2003
“Radio helped me a lot. That’s the audience. I can’t see them, but I know they’re there. I can’t reach out and touch them with my hand , but I know they’re there.”
— B.B. King, recording artist, 2002
“If a song’s not on the radio, it’ll never sell.”
— Mark Wright, Senior Vice President, MCA Records, 2001
“Air play is king. They play the record, it sells. If they don’t, it’s dead in the water.”
— Jim Mazza, President, Dreamcatcher Entertainment, 1999
“I am so grateful to radio. Their support has truly changed my life, and I hope they know how appreciative I am for that.”
— Jo Dee Messina, recording artist, 1999