After nearly a year of negotiations and congressional outreach, the broadcast leadership has for the first time in history voted in favor of a proposal that that would have radio pay artists for using their work. The National Association of Broadcasters' board of directors approved a term sheet that includes the royalty payment on Oct. 25, 2010. The proposal itself is not acceptable and sets a rate for the royalty below previously agreed-upon levels. However, the vote was a historic shift for an industry that only a year ago vowed "never a penny."
The musicFIRST Coalition, co-founded by The Recording Academy, officially rejected the terms, noting that it was a unilateral rewrite of the deal both parties struck after seven months of negotiations. However, the coalition recognized the significance of the vote, as did the radio trades with headlines, including "NAB Ready To Pay The Piper," "Radio Board Agrees To Pay Performers For Music" and "Broadcasters Prepared To Show Music Biz The Money."
This issue will most likely continue into the next Congress, either through legislation or through the parties finding mutually acceptable terms.