Monday, June 22, 2009

NARAS Atlanta hosts today's town hall on HR 848 Performance Rights Act

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 3:21 PM

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Just found out about an open discussion scheduled to take place today in Decatur from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the proposed Performance Rights Act (H.R. 848). Featured round table panelists will include artists George Clinton, Dionne Farris, Rhymefest and Peter Stroud.

The act, which would require radio stations to pay performance royalties to recording artists, has sparked quite a bit of controversy.

Last week we posted An open letter to black radio from Tony MF Rock in which the Atlanta hip-hop pioneer voiced his concern over how certain black radio commentators have been framing the proposed legislation as an attack on black-owned radio stations. And today, EbonyJet.com has posted a similar critique from Paul Porter:

Unfortunately, Black radio is swiftly becoming part of the problem, not the solution. It began, of course, with black-owned stations losing their independent voices and turning into sterile corporate jukeboxes limiting both information and community access, while feeding us music that reinforced the same stereotypes that for decades radio helped to defeat.

Now the few surviving Black-owned radio stations are abusing their unique influence in the community to misinform listeners about the impact of a new Congressional bill designed to support the kind of independent, creative and positive musical artists we all have demanding.

Cathy Hughes, Founder of Radio One, as one example, has been leading the charge against HR 848, an act of legislation that Hughes charges will “end black radio.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Today's town hall meeting, hosted by the Atlanta chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, will feature "updates" from congressmen Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.). According to the flier, the RSVP deadline was Friday. I attempted to contact the Atlanta NARAS office this morning, but got no response.

I'm not sure if it's open to the general public, but I suggest people interested in voicing their opinion (or in listening) should show up anyway. Worst-case scenario, you'll get turned away at the door. But an influx of people could speak volumes, too.

I plan to attend and report back via Twitter updates and an eventual blog post. Tony MF Rock says, via email, that he plans to attend too.

musicFIRST® Town Hall Atlanta — an open discussion about the Performance Rights Act, H.R. 848. Featuring George Clinton, Dionne Farris, Rhymefest, Peter Stroud. 1-3 p.m. TODAY. Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center, 3181 Rainbow Dr. Decatur, Ga. 30034. NARAS Atlanta phone # 404-816-1380.

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