Billy Corgan was in Washington DC yesterday speaking up to Congress (in a suit!) on behalf of the right for musicians to receive royalties from traditional radio. This legislation, the Performance Rights Act [H.R 848] (check pg 3), first introduced then rejected by Congress in December of last year, would make the US the last of the 30 countries in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development to pay performance royalties AND mechanical royalties, instead of just the latter. That means musicians and writers get paid, not just writers. That's right: We are the only of these countries not doing this yet. The radio stations, obviously opposed, argue that the promo time is equivalent, if not greater to, the monetary standard that would be set for the song's worth in performance royalties.
Radio stations used(?) to be paid (in a very illegal kind of way) to play music. Years later, record labels and musicians are now asking them to pay to play music, as if they are now simply an additional form of revenue instead of a partner in crime (no pun intended). I can understand why the stations are a little up in arms. Fact of the matter is traditional radio used to be one of two main gatekeepers to popular music (MTV being the other) and now it is not. With many other options to get the word out about the cool, new band, the power of a radio DJ is no longer worth paying for, in the eyes of musicians and record labels.
The bill will be introduced this week. Stay tuned to see what happens.