×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Artists No Longer Thank Radio at the Grammys,’ Says Recording Academy Head in Blistering Op-Ed

With the National Association of Broadcasters’s 2017 Radio Show conference underway in Austin, Tex., Neil Portnow, CEO of the Recording Academy, has criticized the radio industry in an op-ed for RadioInk, noting the sector’s failure to implement an industry standard for paying performance royalties to artists whose music is played on air.

Portnow identified the issue as the driving force behind a widening chasm between artists and the radio industry, illustrated by the complete lack of artists thanking radio during their Grammy acceptance speeches; according to Portnow, thanking radio used to be standard in such speeches. Portnow also pointed out that the audience segment that listens to radio in the car is literally dying out, as new generations increasingly turn to streaming services on their cell phones and in the car.

“The lack of a radio performance rights is the only instance in our economy where one party can use another’s intellectual property without permission or compensation,” he wrote. “Every other broadcast platform in America (Internet, satellite, and cable) pays, as do radio broadcasters in every other developed country in the world. There are no arguments to support the continued exploitation of artists and use of music without any compensation to its makers.”

Portnow painted an image of a brighter future with a proper performance royalty payout in place, where “radio and music could work together to develop a digital framework that’s fair to both sides across the board” leading to “a future where music fans still turn to radio, advertisers deem radio relevant, and music makers are paid fairly for their work.”

As head of the Recording Academy, which represents music creators, including artists, songwriters, producers, and studio professionals, and puts on the annual Grammy Awards, Portnow has long advocated royalty reform. He previously penned an op-ed titled “The Penny Paradox” in 2016 in which he also criticized streaming services for their notoriously low royalty payments to artists.

Under the current statutes, songwriters are paid for broadcasts of their songs, but the artists who perform those songs are not. There are several bills currently winding their way through Congress and the DOJ that address royalty reform, including the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, which directly focuses on the broadcast royalty issue, and the Copyright Accountability Act, which seeks to make the Register of Copyrights a presidential-appointed, Senate-confirmed position.

More Music

  • J BalvinJ. Balvin in concert at

    J. Balvin, Ozuna, Deadmau5 Among New Artists Launching 2019 Vegas Residencies

    The list of artists heading to Vegas this year is getting a little longer. Reggaeton stars J. Balvin and Ozuna and DJ heavyweights Armin van Buuren, Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz are among the new artists who have announced residencies this spring at the Palms Casino Resort. The performers join previously announced residencies by Cardi B, [...]

  • mark Beaven

    If Spotify Is Holding Town Halls for Songwriters, They Must Be Open (Guest Column)

    Earlier this month, Amazon, Google, SiriusXM and Spotify challenged the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to increase the compulsory mechanical rates paid to songwriters by 44% over the next five years. The streamers have come under fierce criticism for the move, which they claim is over the complexities of the CRB’s rules but is widely assumed [...]

  • iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive

    iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive VP of Communications

    Angel Aristone has been promoted to executive vice president of communications for iHeartMedia, the company announced today. According to the announcement, Aristone will continue to position iHeart as a media and entertainment leader through proactive strategic communication efforts on both a local and national level. She will also continue to oversee media relations and external [...]

  • Grammy Awards60th Annual Grammy Awards, Press

    Recording Academy Narrows Search to Replace Neil Portnow

    The Recording Academy has narrowed its pool of candidates to succeed outgoing chairman/president Neil Portnow to a shortlist of “three to five” finalists, with the Academy now focusing exclusively on executives at the CEO level, sources tell Variety. The next Recording Academy chief is expected to be named in late May, with Portnow staying on through [...]

  • Kanye West attends "The Cher Show"

    Kanye West's Sunday Church Service: Where Spirituality and Exclusivity Meet

    Another Sunday has passed which means another installment of Kanye West’s weekly church service. Launched at the top of the year, it’s become the most prestigious, highly-coveted invitation among the greater music community in Los Angeles — an event that only the select and handpicked worshipers get to experience. So what’s the service like? Think: [...]

  • The myspace website viewed on an

    Musicians Freak Out as They Belatedly Learn Myspace Lost 50 Million Songs

    Myspace-related news travels very, very slowly in the late 2010s. So while the company had quietly acknowledged a massive data loss in response to user inquiries last year, it took until this weekend for the greater public to begin to become aware that all music uploaded to the site prior to 2015 has now migrated [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content