MusicFIRST Tackles Radio

A group of recording artists and music industry associates have teamed to lobby Congress to give performers compensation if their music is played on terrestrial radio.

Performers including Don Henley, Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, Patti LaBelle and Wyclef Jean have joined the musicFIRST coalition with the goal of making sure performers are paid when their work is aired on AM or FM radio.

Current law grants only songwriters royalty payments from radio except for station simulcasts or music streamed on radio Web sites. However, satellite radio broadcasters are required to pay both performer and songwriter.

But there’s bound to be resistance to any move by the recording industry to expand radio royalties, according to Dennis Wharton, spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters.

"In exchange for airplay for music on the radio, performance artists generate tens of millions of dollars and there should be no reason broadcasters have to pay a tax," Wharton said.