RIAA v. NAB: ‘Pork Barreling’ Takes On New Meaning

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The US-based performance rights battle between the radio and recording industries has always been ugly.

But now, things are just getting ridiculous, and further from the core issue at hand.  The prime participants of folly are the RIAA, the recording-focused musicFirst Coalition, and the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters), a group now fighting over things like sausage, pork, and pigs.

What?  The parties have long been sophomoric, though a pig-focused advertising and awareness campaign by musicFirst is accelerating the deterioration.  The group recently placed an ad in Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call depicting the NAB as a pig with an antennae popping out of its rear.  The swine is sticking its head into a barrel labeled ‘Bailout Funds’.

That ‘bailout’ refers to free radio spectrum, a bit of a stretch on the typical definition.  Either way, the Coalition is sending a giant, inflated pig on a cross-country tour, and triggering television ads around the theme.

Volleys are going both ways.  The NAB, assuming the low road, recently sent sausage pizzas to pro-royalty activists.  The grouped asked that the food be passed along to artists bilked by their label partners.  “It seems appropriate for the RIAA to use an inflatable pig as its mascot, since its foreign-owned members would be the biggest beneficiaries of performance tax pork,” NAB chief Dennis Wharton retorted.