COLUMBIA, SC -- If you listen to local radio, a proposed tax could dramatically impact your listening experience. Two bills are pending in Congress that would levy a performance tax on local radio stations. A performance tax is a fee that record labels want the government to impose on local radio stations simply for providing music to their listeners.
In recent years, record companies have seen sales fall, as more listeners download music. But that's not radio's fault. Local stations promote music sales by exposing artists to listeners. By pushing a tax on local radio, it seems record labels and artists are biting the hand that feeds them. And the performance tax would not benefit artists as much as the record companies, most of which are foreign-owned.
This proposed tax could be devastating to small, locally-owned and minority-owned stations that might have to switch to all-talk formats or shut down altogether.