Music industry pushes unified message on compensation

By Ben Sisario

When it comes to the music industry’s lobbying efforts in Washington, it is time for some harmony.

That message has gained momentum among music executives, who worry that squabbling among the various players — record labels, music publishers, artists, songwriters — will undermine broader initiatives to push for new legislation and regulatory reform.

On Wednesday, the head of the organization behind the Grammy Awards will host a dinner in Washington attended by some of Capitol Hill’s most powerful lawmakers and call for the industry to set aside its differences and lobby under a single message of fair compensation for all.

The speech, to be given by Neil Portnow, the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, will suggest that disparate messages from the different constituencies have stymied previous campaigns and will argue that a single, all-purpose bill is needed, according to industry executives.

Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader, and Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority whip, are expected to attend the event.

Music groups are pushing for a range of new laws and regulations that they believe are vital to help their businesses survive in the digital era. But the interests of these parties do not always align.

Record companies, for example, have long wanted to change the federal laws that require AM/FM radio broadcasters to pay royalties to the publishers that control songwriting copyrights but not to record labels. Yet publishers have feared that any gain by record companies could come at their expense. Radio broadcasters have fiercely opposed and successfully fought the record labels on this issue.

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