Music Advocates Denounce Big Radio Bailout in HEROES Act

Following the release of the House of Representatives’ HEROES Act draft, SoundExchange, the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), the Future of Music Coalition and the Recording Academy issued the following statement:

“The economic impact of COVID-19 is very real and causing dramatic upheaval in local communities throughout the country. Musicians are proud that during this time of isolation, uncertainty and crisis, communities have turned to music for strength and comfort. That is why earlier efforts by Congress to provide aid to truly local broadcasters who serve their communities with unique and locally-relevant content has merit and received broad support.”

“However, language in the HEROES Act introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives essentially green-lights a warrantless Big Radio bailout for every massive broadcaster within the multibillion dollar industry who can lay claim to a smaller station within their portfolio. To be clear: there are a small number of broadcasting companies who own hundreds of stations in markets of all sizes across the country, and the language in this bill will provide more help, even if unintentionally, to companies like iHeartMedia, Cumulus and Sinclair than it will to the small, independent broadcasters truly hurting in this environment. The stunningly broad language would divert assistance away from true community outlets in favor of the same mega corporations that have been laying off thousands of local employees in a wave of consolidation. Truly small, non-commercial and community radio stations shouldn't be forced to compete with huge companies for limited payroll assistance.”

“There is a difference between supporting vital local news outlets and billion dollar broadcast conglomerates, especially given that these enormous radio conglomerates refuse to compensate recording artists for using their music, in contrast with satellite radio and streaming services that do pay. With so many people in need at this time, let’s keep the focus where it should be: small businesses and workers, not on big broadcasters.”