Earl's Pearls

By Earl Meyers, Coordinator, Louisville Workshop, NSAI

Should a hardware store have to pay for playing radio station music for its customers? I was disappointed to find out that Paul Harvey didn't think so, as revealed in his broadcast a few months ago. Harvey led me to believe that music broadcast in the air waves should be as free as the air we breathe, once the radio station has paid rights on the songs it is playing, at least in small-business form such as hardware stores, etc.

I am not surprised that someone as knowledgeable as Paul Harvey does not see the significance of a few dollars here or there.

He has a top syndicated radio show that brings in millions for less than one hour per day, six days per week broadcast time. N SAI's Executive Director Pat Rogers and President Richard Leigh found similar responses from world leading political representatives when they were asked to visit some European countries with their songwriting committee earlier this year.

We can overlook the fact that 1.3% of songwriters make $l0,000+ per year or that 99% of us depend for our livelihood on another job. Or that publishers tie up thousands in promoting artists of the songs, etc.

Let me, if I may, play the devil's advocate: Let's call Paul Harvey's broadcast for the past few years "songs" and pay him $25 each, straight out, for his commentaries.

There goes his boat, his son's college education money, the shoes on his family's feet and here comes that second job. Have we heard that somewhere before? The picture is becoming all too clear.

The songwriter is the last one to get paid for beautiful lyrics and the sweet sounds of music. We pay a few pennies extra for the inventors of the light bulb and socket wrench that the hardware store sells above cost, so why should the music creator be ignored for less than one penny per listen? Is it worth the joy, something to dance to, the background of a movie, something for a great voice to sing? I think so.