Taxing Internet Radio to Death

No such understanding was present in the 1990s when Congress wrote the laws for Internet music distribution. Under the two laws, the Digital Sound Recordings Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the record label becomes entitled to payment for every play online. So webcasters pay both the composer and the label, while label fees alone will put them in the red.

A key part of my job is to identify which artists will matter months and years down the road, but with this decision we can see how our representatives in Washington can shape culture for decades.

Without laws made by Congress guaranteeing that music had copyright protection, the record industry wouldn't have even existed. The record labels have, in return, spent considerable sums of time and money to create their powerful lobby in Congress.

Even though many listeners would testify that Internet radio had encouraged them to buy more, not less, music, the labels have not fought hard for Web radio because they face their own crisis.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that CD sales were in steep decline, and that profits at labels had tumbled as much as 74 percent in the case of Warner Bros., for example. Understandably, the labels want to milk as much from their copyrights as possible.

ABC News contributor Michael Smith is an internationally recognized DJ who has a music-services business. He works with a variety of national brands. www.smitheventmusic.com or info@smitheventmusic.com

Some lawmakers, such as Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, have already come out against the high royalties. Can he get more senators and presidential candidates to go along with him?

ABC News contributor Michael Smith is an internationally recognized DJ who has a music-services business. He works with a variety of national brands. www.smitheventmusic.com or info@smitheventmusic.com

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
PHOTO: Defendant Jodi Arias testifies about killing Travis Alexander in 2008 during her murder trial in Phoenix, Feb. 20, 2013.
Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic/AP Photo
PHOTO: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, their daughter North West and Delphine Arnault attend the Givenchy show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015, Sept. 28, 2014 in Paris.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/French Select/Getty Images