RIAA Gets AFL-CIO To Support Performance Tax: Payments In Perpetuity For A Small Amount Of Work

The RIAA has been touting this for a little while already, but the AFL-CIO has officially signed on to support the RIAA’s highly questionable performance tax. This is a bogus attempt to boost RIAA revenue by taxing radio stations for promoting their music. The RIAA has been going around claiming that radio promoting its music is a “kind of piracy”, while at the same time claiming it’s somehow illegal for radio stations not to play RIAA music. Yeah. Logic is not the RIAA’s strong suit. Even worse, of course, is that the RIAA has blatantly demonstrated that it knows there’s tremendous value in getting its music on the air. It’s been involved in payola scams for decades. To basically get the government to mandate reverse payola is the height of obnoxiousness.

Of course, what does the AFL-CIO have to do with any of this? Absolutely nothing. It’s pure politicking on the part of the RIAA and its offshoot lobbying group musicFIRST. The main point is to get more Congressional folks on board with the tax by saying “the unions support it!” Somewhere down the line, I’m sure the RIAA will come to the support of the AFL-CIO on some other random bill as well.

But what’s really ridiculous is the statement made by the AFL-CIO explaining why they support this:

“The labor movement was founded on the principle that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. That’s the principle at stake in the fight for the Performance Rights Act.”

But that’s not even close to true. The Performance Rights Act is about the opposite of a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work. It’s about getting paid over and over and over and over and over again for a bit of work done years ago. And, it’s not a “fair day’s pay” either. A fair day’s pay is a contractually agreed upon wage between two parties. This is about the gov’t forcing a totally unnecessary and nonsensical tax on radio stations for promoting RIAA music. In what world is it fair to tax someone who helps promote your work?

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