Artist and label groups amped up their efforts on Capitol Hill to gain a performance right for over-the-air broadcasts of their recordings. A letter signed by seven groups went to 535 Congressional offices on Friday (May 11), urging support for performers, has learned.

In the letter, the groups argued that "multi-billion dollar" corporate radio conglomerates have "received a free pass to play music over-the-air without compensating the artists." They wrote that the U.S. is the only "free-market, democratic country that does not require radio stations to compensate performers when their songs are played over-the-air." The groups want performers to be compensated for these performances.

The May 11 letter was signed by the American Assn. of Independent Music (A2IM), the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the Music Managers Forum, the Recording Academy, Recording Artists' Coalition (RAC), the RIAA and SoundExchange.

The letter campaign follows one by the National Assn. of Broadcasters last week. NAB president/CEO David Rehr sent a letter on May 9 to every senator and representative, urging lawmakers to oppose any attempt to levy a "performance tax" on local radio broadcasters for music airplay.