My Thoughts on The Radio Performance Fees

Stereo Pictures, Images and PhotosThere's a lot of talk going on right now about the performance fee Bill currently in Congress that will apparently charge the radio stations more to play music. I'm torn on this, I used to listen to the radio all the time, but in the last few years I've listened to the radio less, and my iPod more. I find the radio stations, at least here in Columbus, to be repetitive. By that I mean I hear the same 5-10 songs all day. In the course of getting dressed one morning I heard the same Jamie Foxx song TWICE in about two hours. On top of that, it seems like there's a commercial break every 15 minutes, and these days with the performance tax bill it seems like every half hour there's that 5 minute long commercial by Cathy Hughes that's basically a rant against John Conyers his wife Sheila Jackson Lee, and Congress. That commercial does not inspire me to action, it inspires me to change the station or turn off the radio.

I have a friend who told me she never listens to the local radio stations, especially now that she has XM in her car. Sure, XM isn't FREE, but at the same time you can always find something to listen to that you'd enjoy and there are no commercials and lots more choices. Personally, I've wanted satellite radio for a while, and once I can afford to take on another bill, I'll probably purchase one to use in my house as well as my car.

People want to make the record companies the bad guys here, but I think they are hurting in this economy just like everyone else, especially since they are no longer the only or even main source to get the music. Even though there have been crackdowns on "illegal" downloads of music after the Napster situation a few years ago, people STILL share music files for free online. For those of us who can't afford Satellite radio right now, we can listen to Pandora for free, I even have Pandora downloaded on my BlackBerry, so I don't even need to be around a computer to listen to it. So basically, they still have to put up a lot of money to make these artists famous, but they aren't getting as much revenue from it. Are some of them probably just being greedy? Yes. But how would you like it if you were an artist or sponsoring an artist and you were losing millions of dollars because people decided to just go on the Internet and find your work instead of buying it?

There are just too many options out there other than free radio that are BETTER than free radio, which is why a lot of people may be feeling indifferent to its loss. Sure, I listen every once in a while, but usually after about an hour I just listen to iTunes on my computer.

The only thing I really listen to regularly on the radio is the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and I can even listen to THAT on the Internet. I think the radio is largely becoming irrelevant.

Of course, on the flip side, if the free non-internet radio ends up getting shut down by fees, there may be nothing to keep those same people from going after the free internet radio services like Pandora, so it could be a slippery slope.

So, I don't think I support the performance fee even though I understand where it's coming from, but I'm not all that convinced that Black radio is worth saving at this point.
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