Bono is the latest artist to speak out in favor of the Performance Rights Act, which would call for radio stations to pay roylaties to artists for playing their music. Bono joins other supporters such as Smashing Pumpkins founder Billy Corgan, will.i.am, Sheryl Crow, Herbie Hancock and Emmylou Harris, who have all joined the musicFIRST Coalition on Capitol Hill to lobby in favor of the Performance Rights Act.
Bono released a statement on the matter via musicFIRST, which is an advocacy group for artist rights. “While we have many friends at radio, and appreciate the many things that radio has done for our band over the years, we believe it’s only fair that when radio makes money by playing a recording artist’s music and selling advertising, the recording artist should be compensated just as songwriters are already,” said Bono. ”This is a principle accepted by radio broadcasters in virtually every country in the world. The music business is in a state of freefall at the moment, and while, thankfully, this no longer really affects us - there are many young recording artists out there who can no longer earn a living from the sale of their music, or from touring or selling merchandise… yet they remain a vital part of radio playlists throughout the USA. They should not be denied their fair share. In this time of so much positive change coming from Washington, we hope this bill will be embraced and become the law.”
In response to Bono’s statement, NAB EVP Dennis Wharton commented, “The irony is that it will be the less-established performers who will be hurt most by a performance tax. If radio stations are forced to pay to play music, program directors will be less likely to take a chance playing unknown artists and will instead stick with established musicians like Bono. New artists and niche formats will suffer, and Bono and Britney Spears will become wealthier.”
The House Judiciary Committee has been holding hearings on the legislation, and numerous broadcasters have testified that radio is facing an extremely difficult time in this economy as it is, and enacting a performance royalty would be devastating to the industry