Outline of Performance Rights Act

Radio must pay to play based on revenue

The Performance Rights Act would for the first time require that broadcast radio stations pay performers and record labels when their music is played on the air.

Following broadcasters’ concerns that the bill would cut into their business at a time of shrinking ad sales, the House version was amended to include a tiered system of payments based on station revenues.

  • Royalty rates for stations that have annual gross revenues of $1.25 million or more would be established by the Copyright Royalty Board if broadcasters and performers are unable to negotiate rates on their own.

  • Commercial stations that gross less than $100,000 per year will pay a $500 annual fee.

  • Commercial stations that gross more than $100,000 and less than $500,000 pay a $2,500 annual fee.

  • Commercial stations that gross more than $500,000 and less than $1.25 million will pay a $5,000 annual fee.

  • Public, nonprofit religious and college music stations that gross less than $100,000 will pay a $500 annual fee. Those above $100,000 will pay a $1,000 fee.

None of the royalties will take effect for at least a year. For stations that gross less than $5 million per year, no royalties will be due for three years. For those above that figure, none would be due for another 12 months.

See related article: Artists hope bill will make radio stations pay

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