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Performers cut deal with Clear Channel

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Frank Sinatra knew he was getting a raw deal.

He could sing, but he was not much of a songwriter, so he never saw a cent when most of his 300 or so singles were played on U.S. radio. He spent years fruitlessly lobbying Congress to change a 1909 royalties law that requires radio broadcasters to pay composers but not performers.

Broadcasters, a more formidable lobby than artists or record labels, long have fought any change, arguing that airtime gives singers free publicity. This month, however, the artists and labels have had some good news.

On June 5, Clear Channel Communications, America’s largest radio broadcaster, announced a deal with Big Machine, a country-music label, to pay performance royalties on all its radio channels, terrestrial — that is, over the air — and digital. The plan is for Clear Channel to pay the label and its artists, who include Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift, a cut of its advertising revenue. The agreement indicates that Clear Channel plans to invest more in digital radio, the part of the industry that is growing. Unlike terrestrial broadcasters, however, digital stations are obliged by a 1998 law to pay fees to artists whenever a song is played.

Read Full Story : Star Tribune

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