Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist on Tuesday urged both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to reject the Internet Radio Fairness Act, which would dramatically reduce the royalty rates paid by Internet radio providers like Pandora.
Pandora, which began its foray into politics in 2011, is hoping that the bill — sponsored by Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis and Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden — will allow it to pay the same royalty rate for music as cable and satellite radio providers, like SiriusXM.
Famous for his anti-tax pledge, Norquist said in his letter to the congressional committees that the bill would affirm the idea that the federal government has the authority to interfere with the free market and set the rates for music licensing.
Norquist’s ATR has been involved in many of the congressional and regulatory fights surrounding the Internet.
“When the government sets the rate for music, it is enacting price controls, in opposition to what should be the agenda of a Congress that supports the market economy,” Norquist said, adding that the rates “should be allowed to emerge according to supply and demand.”
“Government should extract itself from this debate to allow an environment for negotiations to develop among broadcasters, record companies, artists, and other interested parties,” he said.