Labels and managers will meet in New York and Nashville next week to discuss their plans for addressing the Internet Radio Fairness Act and the coalition of webcasters and trade groups that support both versions of the bill, according to sources.
The three major labels have organized a meeting with artist managers on Tuesday that will cover the issues surrounding the Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA), legislation from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representatives Chaffetz (R-UT), Polis (D-CO), Issa (R-CA) and Lofgren (D-CA) that would change, among other things, the standard by which statutory royalties are set. IRFA is backed by Pandora, Clear Channel, the Consumer Electronics Association and Digital Media Association, among others.
Discussions between labels and managers will continue in Nashville. Many people from around the country will be in town for the CMA Awards on Thursday evening.
One major label executive stresses that next week's meetings are simply the beginning of an ongoing campaign to unite similar interests against a common foe. Neither the Tuesday meeting in New York nor the meetings in Nashville were called specifically to formulate a strategy. "It's going to be a long process," says the executive.
Opponents of IRFA have their own bill to support, a discussion draft from Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that would apply the standard currently used for webcasters' rates - the "willing buyer, willing seller" standard - to satellite radio and cable. The Wyden and Chaffetz bills seek to replace the "willing buyer, willing seller" standard with the 801(b) standard, which instructs the Copyright Royalty Board to take into account a wider variety of factors when setting rates.
The other side of the issue is increasingly speaking with a common language. Pandora, Clear Channel, the Consumer Electronics Association and other organizations announced Thursday  the formation of the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition, an advocacy group that supports the Chaffetz and Wyden bills.
The major labels meeting with managers story was first reported by CNET  on Thursday.