By Vanessa Rupertus

Elm Staff Writer

The Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA) has been the cause of much contention lately, both in the music industry and beyond.

Introduced to the House of Representatives by co-sponsors Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX-11) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL-14), the bill, if passed, will limit the royalties that radio stations have to pay artists to broadcast their music.

The LRFA reads, “Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air.”

This is by no means the first time this bill has come up. Congress has been debating the LRFA for over eight years now.

The National Association Broadcasters (NAB) has supported this bill ever since the first proposal, and are vigorously pursuing various members of Congress to support the bill.

NAB CEO Gordon Smith spoke adamantly for the act. “America’s broadcasters are deeply grateful to the scores of lawmakers who recognize radio’s unparalleled role in promoting music. We thank them for  standing  in opposition to a job-killing performance royalty that would devastate the economics of local radio.”

This act has received an overwhelming amount of opposition, with the musicFIRST coalition advocating for the abolishment of this proposal.

The coalition argues that radio stations should pay for royalties just like streaming services do, and the Local Radio Freedom Act isn’t “local” at all.

On the coalition’s webpage to collect signatures against the movement, it reads, “Consolidation within the radio industry over the last decade has resulted in ten radio corporations owning hundreds of stations across the country.”

It added that, because the “broadcast behemoths” generate almost half the revenue of the radio industry, we must advocate against “Big Radio’s Local Radio Freedom Act” in order to protect the content of music creators.

Those in favor of the LRFA argue that broadcasting companies pay enough to the music creators in “exposure,” which leads to bigger music contracts for the creators, but those who signed up for musicFIRST rebuke this claim.

“The U.S. shouldn’t be in the business of protecting ‘Big Radio’ at the expense of music creators who are simply looking to be paid for their work,” reads the webpage musicFIRST, created to fight the LRFA.

The decision on this bill has yet to be announced to the public.

Knowing that it has received signatures before and has still fallen short of becoming official law, there’s hope that content creators will continue to receive the proper revenue for their creative efforts.

The Elm

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