November 25, 2009

NPR reports "Black Radio Fights Performance Royalties"; but Cathy Hughes is a No Show



Source: NPR's All Things Considered by Neda Ulaby

New legislation in Congress could drastically change music-industry economics. As it currently stands, musicians in the U.S. aren't paid when their songs are played on the radio unless they wrote the songs, too. Only songwriters get radio royalties, not the folks who play and sing their tunes. Two bills moving through the House and Senate would change that, by making radio broadcasters pay royalties to musicians, too.

Radio broadcasters hate the idea of performance royalties — really, really hate it. They're speaking up in Congress and on air.

Cathy Hughes is the legendary founder of Radio One, the country's largest chain of black radio stations. For months, her stations have played her announcements against the performance-rights bill. Hughes complains, on air, about all the work it would take to comply.

"If the performance tax is passed, all radio stations will have to count how many times a song is played each day and each week," Hughes says in an on-air announcement. (The bills do not really propose a tax.)

Natalie Hopkinson says there's no escaping Hughes. Hopkinson is an editor for the popular online news blog The Root, which is geared toward African-Americans. She says just about everyone who listens to urban radio has heard Hughes' point of view.

"Radio One holds more than half of the top 30 black radio markets. They dominate," Hopkinson says. Read more from NPR




By the way: Cathy Hughes surely knows that record plays are already counted! To broadcast false information over the air is downright deceptive and deceitful.
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