Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is Bono Being Boycotted?


This is how radio stations fight back when musicians speak out against them.

The Associated Press is reporting that it has obtained a copy of a complaint filed with the FCC by the musicFIRST coalition claiming that an unnamed recording artist who has spoken out about paying royalties to musicians is being boycotted by some radio stations. That's right. His music, the complaint alleges, has been yanked from the play lists of some stations.

The complaint does not mention the name of the artist. But it's speculated that U2 front man Bono is the one who is being boycotted. Bono spoke out in April about paying performers royalties similar to what is payed songwriters. That was just after U2 released an album "No Line On The Horizon" with the leadoff single "Get On Your Boots."

Frankly, I don't know whether top artists who are members of the musicFIRST coalition really need royalties from radio stations. Nor do I know the financial impact imposing such a requirement would have on an industry that is - like others - struggling to survive. But I do know that in the United States we cherish our freedom to speak out. And it's pretty un-American for radio stations to punish musicians for expressing their opinions (we've covered this topic over other issues like musicians being boycotted for their political views before on News Talk Online on

I'm sure more details about this story will soon emerge. But if the FCC complaint is accurate, these radio stations should voluntarily re-evaluate their decisions to pull an artist off their play lists just because they don't like what he said.

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