Lawmaker to push over-the-air performance royalty

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Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) plans to introduce a bill next month that would require over-the-air radio stations to pay performance royalties for the music they play, a move the recording industry has been plotting for some time. Broadcasters have paid royalties to composers and music publishers for decades, but unlike satellite and online radio operators, they haven’t had to pay the performance rights holders–generally record labels–of recordings they air. The National Association of Broadcasters predictably vowed to fight the effort. “The big record labels are spinning the same old tune to Congress–asking them to impose a tax on radio to line the pockets of international record executives,” NAB President David K. Rehr said at this week’s NAB Radio Show in Charlotte, N.C. “We can’t and won’t let that happen.”