Radio Group Pitches New Royalty Deal With RIAA

National Association of Broadcasters would pay record artists and labels one percent of all revenues

August 25, 2010 2:43 PM ET

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has proposed a deal with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) that would have radio stations give one percent of their revenues — roughly $100 million a year — to the music industry as performance fees, the New York Times reports. The groups, who recently came together to ask Congress to require FM radios in all digital devices, have long disagreed on royalty payments for artists and labels played on the radio. The NAB has favored the current arrangment, in which only songwriters see radio royalties.

Under the new deal, larger stations will pick up the majority of the one percent fee (calculated across the industry), while smaller stations — who argue that the additional burden could cause them to shut down — would pay a lesser percentage or nothing at all. "I think some people inside the industry think we should fight and fight and fight," said NAB member Peter Smyth. "But at the end of the day, we have to make good deals that help us move forward." Any deal between NAB and the RIAA would have to be approved by Congress.

Meanwhile, a coalition of six tech-industry associations have challenged the NAB and RIAA's efforts to have Congress mandate FM transceivers in digital devices like iPods and phones, Billboard.biz reports. Clearly, the FM chips would expand the audience for radio and the record industry. The tech groups argue that the move would put an unfair financial burden on them.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

More Song Stories entries »