Apparently, record labels, recording artists and performers have it all wrong. Not only should artists not be compensated when radio stations play their music, but it should in fact be the other way around! Labels are “ripping off” radio, according Tony Coloff, who claims he feels “feel like a waitress who gave the greatest service. But the customer doesn’t pay — a gross injustice. Then, even more incredibly, the customer demands payment from the waitress. An absolute outrage.”
Coloff goes on to say that it is actually radio stations that “create intellectual property.” Not, you know, songwriters and musicians. You see, radio is the only thing that “created value” in recordings, so they should own them.
It’s hard to even know where to begin with such a specious argument, but let’s start with the basics. First of all, Coloff seems to conveniently forget that radio stations get their revenue from advertisers. That is the entire business model of radio, and for that matter, television as well. Radio stations collectively make billions upon billions of dollars per year because, as Coloff himself pointed out, radio still has a massive audience and a 98% exposure rate.
Put simply, without its content, namely music, radio stations would have no audience and no advertising dollars. The waitress analogy makes no sense, because the “customer” of the radio station isn’t the record label. The label is, more accurately, the CHEF – the person who makes the food which brings people to the restaurant to begin with. And restaurants pay the people who prepare their food.
So, I guess by Coloff’s logic, magazine and newspaper columnists should be paying their employers. Television production companies should pay television stations to broadcast their programs. This makes absolutely no sense. It doesn’t even begin to make sense.
If your business model revolves around providing a free or extremely inexpensive product filled with content, and monetizing that content through advertising, then logically you would pay the people who are giving you the content that enables this business model to work at all. This is such a basic concept to understand that it’s almost unbelievable that an adult could twist it so much.
As for the belief that radio stations should own the intellectual property that they broadcast, again, that’s so far off the mark as to be almost offensive. Even if radio stations created value in recordings – which they don’t, they merely expose recordings which have intrinsic value – this has nothing to do with intellectual property. Should a book publicist be considered the co-author, or even the author of the book she promotes? Should grocery stores be entitled to the formulas and recipes of food products (a form of intellectual property) because they advertise them in circulars? This suggestion is beyond stupid.
Coloff and other radio advocates like him are only able to get away with posting such obviously nonsensical and illogical arguments because they are using a logical fallacy which is often effective: “Person A believes Idea X, and Person A is bad, so therefore Idea X is wrong.” One typically sees this in political discourse as a basic smear tactic, but it makes no sense. A murderer can state that rape is wrong, and he’d be correct. His status as a murderer has no bearing on his statement.
Likewise, the RIAA advocates a performance royalty in radio. They are correct. Just because they’re a generally sleazy organization with widely-unpopular legal tactics and a bad public image doesn’t mean that everything they support is wrong.
Don’t succumb to the vapid arguments of Coloff and others like him.
Why the Record Labels Are Wrong [Radio World]