by Miles Raymer
MusicFirst is a lobbying group with ties to SoundExchange and the RIAA, but dedicated specifically to inflicting those entities' brand of self-destructive greed on terrestrial radio. Also, like SoundExchange and the RIAA, it seems to be staffed mostly by colossal assholes. At the moment MusicFirst's primary concern is making radio pay performance royalties--which the National Association of Broadcasters and the U.S. Congress have repeatedly deemed unnecessary, given that radio play works in effect as a promotional tool to drive record sales. MusicFirst and its parent organizations think that's unfair, and to draw attention to their plight they've designed a fake coupon, which allegedly entitles you to free promotional items from the NAB online store. The text:
Valid: When Turkeys Talk
At NAB, Promotion Equals Free
No limit per customer. No minimum purchase (after all, they don't purchase the music they use). May be combined with a 70-year history of refusing to pay artists for their music. Your copyright must be surrendered. No cash/no credit for your work. Not valid outside of the U.S.--every other major country actually pays a performance right. Subject to common sense and basic fairness. For more information: www.musicfirstcoalition.org.
Because there's nothing like aggressive sarcasm combined with vague threats to earn you the public's sympathy, right? OK, the sarcasm is a little heavy-handed, but the irony is sublime. First there's the spectacle of a sock puppet for the major labels condemning radio's "70-year history of refusing to pay artists"--look up the word "recoupable" sometime--and then there's the fact that SoundExchange, which is supposed to distribute similar royalties collected from Internet radio, doesn't have such a hot record of finding the people who are actually owed the money. I don't know how they keep a straight face.