A new study demonstrating the symbiotic relationship between music aired on the radio and music sales is being circulated on Capitol Hill in support of a bill denouncing the notion of a performance tax, fee or royalty on radio broadcasters. Distributed to members of Congress late this week by the National Association of Broadcasters, the analysis, based on data from Nielsen and Pollstar, is the latest volley in the heated debate about whether there should be legislation to force broadcasters to pay musical performers for songs aired on the radio has been a flashpoint for broadcasters and the music artist community.
Two of the nation's biggest lobbyists, the National Association of Broadcasters and the Recording Industry Association of America, have been at each others' throats over the issue. A House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property is set to hold hearings next week on the Performance Rights Act, introduced by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) that would levy new royalties on music airplay.
An opposing bill, the Local Radio Freedom Act, introduced in October by Reps. Gene Green (D-Tex.) and Mike Conaway (R-Tex.), has more than 200 bipartisan cosponsors.
Sales vs. Spins, is based on data from Nielsen, which tracks music sales via SoundScan and monitors airplay through Nielsen BDS; and Pollstar, a Fresno-Calif.-based company that tracks concert sales. In a series of line graphs, the data shows that the when music airs on the radio, record sales go up. Music airplay and sales were analyzed for 17 artists covering all genres and varying levels of success such as Velvet Revolver, U2, Rascal Flatts, Linkin Park, Green Day, Bruce Springsteen, The White Stripes, Taylor Swift and Josh Groban.
"There is a direct correlation between the number of 'spins' (plays on free, local radio) and the sales of albums or singles," the report concluded. "It is this promotion - free advertising - that drives record sales and represents just one of the many ways local radio provides value to artists and contributes to their financial and commercial success."