First they took away our Napster, now the Recording Industry Association of America, and the big five record labels want to make us pay for music on the radio. They cite a growing loss of revenue, as people who listen to music on the radio are getting it for free. "We have simply had enough of freeloaders using our copyrighted material without paying for it!" said RIAA CEO and President Hilary Rosen. "Lars Ulrich of Metallica, and the rapper, Dr. Dre pointed out to us that Napster and free radio were both denying them the royalties they and their recording labels richly deserved. They are right. No one should ever be able to listen to copyrighted music without anteing up. That's how our economy works."
We pointed out that they are already getting paid for every song played on the radio. Radio stations pay hefty licensing fees to ASCAP and BMI for the right to play the music, amounting to billions each year. Rosen said that this amounted to small change once it was divvied up, and that it charged the end-users of music nothing.
This plan would require new technology to be developed. Martin Bandier, CEO of EMI Music Publishing, explained it this way. "Owners of radios would first give us their credit card number, and then we would be able to start the meter as soon as they turn the radio on. An onboard computer would keep track of each song played, then charge royalties to the end-user's credit card."
We asked Sony Music Entertainment Inc. Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Thomas D. Mottola, what he thought of people who criticize the recording industry for its greed. He said, "On behalf of the entire music industry, I would like to point out to all the hippie leftie commie pinko bums who think they are entitled to free music and music sharing under something they call fair use, that we have a capitalist economy, God bless America! and that nothing is free." The parties involved have introduced a bill to Congress, The Recording Revenue Collection Act. It is sponsored by South Carolina Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings.