The noise in the lame duck will be mostly related to fiscal cliff and sequestration, but there could be another kind of noise thrown into the mix: music.
More specifically, industry groups are lobbying on a pair House and Senate bills dubbed the Internet Radio Fairness Act, that would direct the Copyright Royalty Board to set rates for Internet radio using the same standard applied to satelite and digital providers.
On the one side, you've got Pandora, along with some major broadcasters and other associations, pushing for passage. On the other end is the recording industry, which has had its MusicFIRST coalition since 2007. They've been joined by the giant AFL-CIO in opposition to the bills.
So, basically, the big guns have come out to play. And that means big money.
Pandora has had TwinLogic Strategies in its corner all year. In the third quarter, it paid the group $60,000 to work on the bills. Pandora also brought on Constantine Cannon during the third quarter, paying the firm $10,000 to lobby on the bills.
But Pandora isn't alone in pushing the bills. It formed the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition this month, which includes the likes of Clear Channel, which has begun lobbying on the bills on its own. The company brought on Wiley Rein LLP during the third quarter to lobby solely on the Internet Radio Fairness Act, paying $40,000. Clear Channel also paid Mattoon & Associates $50,000 in the third quarter to lobby on the bills, as well as on another issue, and $30,000 to Telecommunications Law Professionals to work on the bills, among other issues.
MusicFIRST founding member Sound Exchange paid $50,000 to American Continental Group to lobby on the bills in the third quarter.
The Recording Industry Association of America paid $50,000 to Alpine Group to lobby on Internet radio, among other issues and $40,000 to Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock to lobby on the bills. RIAA also paid lobbyists to work on generic copyright protection issues, including paying $40,000 to The Glover Park Group; $15,000 to TeleMedia Policy Corp.; and $40,000 to Ogilvy Government Relations.