Dear NRBMLC Friends,
Advocacy: noun. the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending.
Your committee advocates on your behalf on two fronts. You already know about our work at the negotiating table and in courtrooms. Congressional advocacy is a focus on which we rate “of high necessity.”
A History of NRBMLC Legislative Advocacy
Your committees, commercial and noncommercial, have been advocating for you before Congress for over 20 years. This mission has focused primarily on Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) and SoundExchange to moderate their overreach, which is a disruptive force to radio stations and their digital (streaming) outlets.
In 1996, NRBMLC joined with several groups to lobby for more reasonable licensing terms and conditions in the retail industry, resulting in the Fairness in Musical Licensing Act of 1998. Although this Act did not directly benefit the broadcast industry, it brought to light music licensing fairness issues for religious broadcasters. ASCAP and BMI officials were strongly “advised” by Congress to come to the table with NRBMLC and negotiate equitable licenses for religious talk stations – a major breakthrough for NRBMLC.
Opposing the Performance Tax: A decade-long push by music industry giants for sound recording royalties on terrestrial radio has been successfully opposed. Together with NAB and other broadcasters, opposition to this royalty was earned during the 116th Congress through extensive lobbying efforts for The Local Radio Freedom Act. The Act was signed by more than 225 House Members and 27 Senators.
SoundExchange/Web V: In 2019, our DC team directly engaged powerful Senate Judiciary Committee Members Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley to urge SoundExchange to engage in a good faith negotiation with NRBNMLC in the Web V-Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) proceedings.
SoundExchange, which is the collective for the record labels in the U.S., is rapidly becoming the focal point for NRBMLC’s future lobbying. Today, SoundExchange is an independent, billion-plus dollar entity, accountable to record labels only.
Because the CRB is directly supervised by Congress, NRBMLC’s vigorous Washington advocacy is an integral part of the fee-setting process. It puts monopoly interests on notice that they risk censure when they use their overwhelming monetary advantages to crush NRBMLC members in CRB proceedings.
The CRB proceeding is an every-five-year affair that has a familiar ring. Tens of millions of dollars will be spent by the music-user community in order to keep rates low enough to continue a digital presence. Once this proceeding is finalized, we must take our energies back to Congress to find a fair and nondiscriminatory rate-setting alternative.
The Cost of Advocacy
If you are a noncommercial station, your committee has stepped forward on your behalf in the court and on the Hill. The cost of continuing this is dramatic. We are not yet close to paying for the trial and we need your help. If you expect to benefit from our work, please fill out this pledge form and send a generous contribution.
NRBNMLC is the only entity representing the music licensing interests of a majority of noncommercial radio broadcasters in the United States. Combined with commercial NRBMLC, we represent approximately 1,800 full-power AM and FM radio stations (approximately 400 commercial and 1,400 noncommercial stations).
As stated earlier, this CRB-Web V rate proceeding will cost your committee $1 million plus! Let’s find a way to pay these litigation expenses. Send NRBNMLC a generous contribution!