Anyone in the radio business claiming to be surprised at this latest development is simply lying for incredulous effect, but the RIAA is now officially setting its sights on terrestrial radio, emboldened by the still-reverberating CRB decision to hike rates for Internet radio stations earlier this year.
The image I have in my head right now is one boney, mangy hyena turning on his boney, mangy companion. A to-the-death battle that neither party wants, but one can see no alternative to.
Record labels these days are trying desperately to dip into a number of remotely music-related revenue streams that have historically been beyond their reach, as physical music retail continues to dry up and shows no sign of ever returning. Live revenue, Internet radio revenue, endorsement and merchandising revenue, don't forget Zune revenue, and now...terrestrial radio revenue.
Terrestrial radio has always forked over some change to the performance rights groups (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) so that the copyright holder of the song gets paid, but the radio lobby has always successfully argued that the promotional value they provide to the label by broadcasting their records outweighs their dept to the copyright holder of the recording (yes, songs have more than one copyright attached to them). The RIAA, obviously, would like that to change, and they're recruiting some big (greedy) stars to help them sell the point.
It's honestly hard to root for either side here. Neither has had the music consumer's interests in mind for a very long time. I guess if I have to choose I'll root for radio, simply because they're not the agressor and there are still a few good radio stations left.
If Skeletor and Cobra Commander got in a fight, you would definitely want to watch, but you'd know that when it was over, the winner would just become a thorn in your side again.