John Conyers' Radio Tax


Both ordinary radio stations and online radio stations pay a fee to songwriters. Since 2002, online stations have also been required to pay a fee to performers. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) saw that unequal system, which has crippled or killed many Internet outlets, and moved swiftly to…impose the performers' fee on AM and FM stations as well. His bill passed the House Judiciary Committee yesterday by a vote of 21 to 9.

Note: If a performer pays a station to play a record, he's engaging in the strictly regulated, frequently illegal practice of payola. Food for thought: If such fees were allowed to flow freely and if Conyers' bill were passed, which way do you think the majority of the money would move? Toward the radio stations, or away?

Bonus link: Just because it's a performance fee doesn't mean it will reach the performers.