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A can of herring in the mail is NOT a Sicilian message

SEATTLE, Washington - Two groups that are very good at manipulating government are the major music labels (encapsulated as the RIAA) and the National Association of Broadcasters. They usually get what they want, but when their interests are at odds, they have to switch to other tactics, like sending cans of herring to their opponents.

Terrestrial radio stations do not have to compensate a musician when they play their song on the radio, a situation that has existed since the 1930s (!) and came into existence because broadcasters convinced Congress at that time that their broadcasts were essentially free promotion of the musicians, a damn bloody FAVOR to the musicians that they should be grateful for.

As sales of music via traditional channels are declining, the RIAA has decided now would be a good time for this rule to be lifted and for radio stations to start sending big checks to the RIAA member labels. This would be big money - likely billions of dollars per year - and each side is duking it out via their toadies in government.

At the same time, a RIAA-sponsored group, musicFIRST, sent a can of herring to the NAB and issued a press release saying "hey, we sent a can of herring to the NAB", to point out the alleged red herring nature of the "promotion" argument of the NAB. Their pitch is that corporate, corporate, corporate radio is taking bread from the mouths of the starving artists that you love.

The NAB is firing right back, saying that the foreign-owned, foreign-owned, foreign-owned music labels have been bilking artists for years and are trying to take money from Your Friendly Local Radio Station and send it to foreign-owned foreign corporations.

I won't get into the merits of their positions, I just hope they keep fighting, because this is more entertaining than listening to music.

Found at Ars Technica