In RIAA Protest, Chicago’s 9 FM Bans CD Giveaways

In a post-millennial update to the Loop’s legendary 1979 “Disco Sucks” record-smashing party, NewsWeb Radio Company’s 9 FM in Chicago has banned CD giveaways and invited any and all past winners to return their discs; they’ll get a station T-shirt for their efforts. Via FMQB:

“When I read that the RIAA and SoundExchange needed money so badly that they were going to price gouge independent Web streamers and radio stations who stream online, I knew we had to do our part,” said Matt DuBiel, Director of Programming for 9 FM. “In the face of the RIAA’s struggles, it just doesn’t seem fair for us to be giving away CDs (for free) to music fans fully capable of paying for the music themselves. We’re inviting everyone who has won a CD from 9 FM or any other radio station in Chicago this year, to return it to us and we’ll exchange it for a 9 FM t-shirt and give the CDs back to the RIAA. Radio stations need to be able to stream online affordably.”

One piece of advice to fans sending back their discs – be sure to rip them to MP3 first!

3 thoughts on “In RIAA Protest, Chicago’s 9 FM Bans CD Giveaways

  1. “When I read that the RIAA and SoundExchange needed money so badly that they were going to price gouge independent Web streamers and radio stations who stream online, I knew we had to do our part,”
    This statement is wildly off the mark. First off, SoundExchange and RIAA are separate organizations. What’s more, SoundExchange is a not-for-profit entity, meaning that all of the royalty money it collects minus a very low administrative fee goes DIRECTLY to artists and labels. As a matter of fact, about 65 percent of the royalties SoundExchange collects goes to artists and small and independent labels. You featured a story on Mary Chapin Carpenter. Ask her her opinion on the checks she receives from SounExchange each month, and I guarantee you her reaction would be overwhelmingly positive.
    A majority of the artists and labels are small businesses themselves, no less than small webcasters. With the plummeting sales of CDs, alternative types of revenue streams have become increasingly important. The webcasting rates that were set by the Copyright Royalty Board did not come out of the blue–the whole process took nearly two years and all participants–including SoundExchange, small and large webcasters, NPR, collegiate radio–had their day in court and the opportunity to present their particular case. The rules and proceedings that were ultimately agreed upon were suggested by the webcasters themselves. The Board ultimately established the rates, not SoundExchange or the RIAA.
    No one wants to see webcasters go out of business. I myself am a big fan. But none of these services would be in business without the core esssence that makes them worthwhile to begin with, and that begins and ends with the music they provide. And those who create it should be fairly compensated.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. Two points:

    1. The webcasters suggested a rate that was approximately one third of that offered by Sound Exchange. The CRB sided one hundred percent with Sound Exchange. Whatever input they received from NPR and other ‘net outlets was apparently ignored.

    2. If you’re for equity in royalties, how do you abide a system that forces webcasters to pay a fee that isn’t required for terrestrial broadcasters?

    I’d love to know where you get your “65 percent to artists and indie labels” figure. That may be true for publishing royalties, but I don’t think it’s the case for performance royalties – most of that money goes to record companies, who are the big losers in the new digital order; they’re also the primary force behind the “sue the music business back to solvency” approach that’s, in my opinion, ultimately detrimental to artists.

    We’ll see how the lawsuits play out.

  3. So, is willemd’s point that the increased royalty payments as the result of the CRB’s decision will be going primarily to artists? HAH!

    I find it hard to believe that a “pro-artist” organization would willingly create a system that will result in less diversity and less royalties for their constituency, which the increased royalties will result in.

    In a perverse way, it’s not that dissimilar from the “pro listener” decisions of the FCC re: consolidation and the elimination of independent labels (e.g. A & M and Motown), it’s supposed to result in more choice – yet there are less releases and less diversity on the airwaves, which resulted in the explosion of webcasting – so much for cause and effect.

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