The debate continues before Congress as to whether traditional radio should be forced to pay music royalties beyond those already negotiated with stakeholders.
The portion of the argument that stands out to us, but has been missing from the discourse until today, is that radio operators do so in the public interest and as expected by the public. While radio companies generate advertising profits from the overall benefit of their licenses, those profits, if any, are invested in providing a unique and free service to the people who actually own the airwaves: We the People.
Such is not true digital broadcasters, record labels, or even the artists who complain so loudly on this issue. They are not entrusted with providing a free service to the people they serve. They have no obligation to anyone but their bankers.
The ability of Americans to access free music for their personal enjoyment, today rests fully on an economic model that has been well established over decades of use. Tomorrow, it will depend on the ability of our representatives to understand the delicate balance that exists and the negative impact that a wrong conclusion will produce.
Traditional radio provides free exposure of music, thus free awareness and an undeniable consumer impetus to purchase that music from its distributors. Additionally, everyone involved wight he production and sales of the work benefits, in return for a fair, low cost royalty system that favors the consumers who own the promotional distribution chain, i.e., Radio, on whom the whole system depends.
We congratulate Mr. Warfield and Mr. Christian for stating traditional radio’s case so eloquently before Congress. Now it is up to that body to do the right thing.