May 2017 – Update from the NRB MLC

Dear Friends:

Several issues we previously reported on remain on the front burner. Here is a recap:

GMR: The NRBMLC met with Global Music Rights (GMR) in early April. Our discussion concerned commercial stations only. We told GMR that NRBMLC would provide a station list, but only of those stations who authorized NRBMLC to represent them in GMR negotiations. We are presently compiling that list.

Based on recent sampling information, our conversation underscored the fact that it is rare for NRBMLC stations to perform songs from the GMR repertoire. Nevertheless, GMR CEO Randy Grimmett responded that GMR has not yet signed Contemporary Christian and Gospel music composers, but would soon be meeting with members of the Church Music Publishers Association in hopes of signing several key songwriters.

Legislation: Inside Radio featured an article on May 8th concerning the music industry’s persistence on Capitol Hill. Here is part of what they wrote: “The musicFIRST Coalition says lawmakers should ‘seize the historic moment’ that’s the result of a four-year review of copyright law. There is clear momentum for reaching a solution to the inequities that exist today by establishing a right to compensation for all music creators and technology-neutral rules for music services,’ the group said in the letter.”

Whatever “momentum” is being referred to by musicFIRST is not that obvious. The first of two music royalty bills introduced so far in the 115th Congress is the “Fair Play Fair Pay Act,” similar in content to last session’s bill by the same name. It has garnered 16 House members. The second bill is the “PROMOTE Act” (HR 1914), which also promotes sound recording performance rights. Introduced in early April, it has just two co-signers.

On the other side of the legislative spectrum, the Local Radio Freedom Act (HR 13), which ensures that the royalty legislation harmful to local radio does not pass, claims 177 co-signers. Nevertheless, it is very clear that musicFIRST, which is well-financed and represents several recording industry entities, has the ear of top lawmakers and will not soon be silenced on Capitol Hill.

SESAC Arbitration: Briefing and arguments in the arbitration case between the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and SESAC, stemming from their Antitrust Court settlement, are complete. The panel’s decision is expected in late June. Most NRBMLC stations are represented by RMLC in this matter.

Thank you for supporting your committees’ efforts! We could not exist without you.

Gratefully,
Russ Hauth Executive Director

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