Who gets paid when “Respect” is played on terrestrial radio? You might think it’s Aretha Franklin, the artist whose soulfully commanding vocal made it one of the most indelible tunes of any era. Nope. Since the late Otis Redding wrote the song, his estate gets the spoils (as does his publisher). While no one would deny Otis his due, Aretha’s performance is a huge part of that recording’s success. Her contribution is recognized by satellite radio and webcasters, who pay a royalty to Aretha and her label when the tune is broadcast. Terrestrial radio, however, fails to compensate her.
Full disclosure: I had a hand in writing this thing. This graf is the giveaway:
Just like all other types of U.S. copyrighted works, sound recordings should have a performance right. Entertainment is America’s number one export, yet the U.S. stands alone in the industrialized world by not requiring radio stations to pay for the use of copyrighted sound recordings — putting us in such exalted company as North Korea, Iraq and Iran. Call it an axis of exploitation.
If you’re interested in music business stuff, you can check out the whole piece here.
(Oh, and FMC is about to launch a new website, so we can finally kiss that web 1.0 design goodbye!)