With the National Association of Broadcasters big convention coming up next week in Las Vegas, this week we’ll look at a couple of the issues that will likely be discussed when the industry gathers for its annual reunion. On Sunday, before most of the NAB Show begins, the Radio and Internet Newsletter (RAIN) will be holding its RAIN Summit West , where I will be moderating a panel called The Song Plays On – which will focus on the music royalties paid by Internet Radio and other digital music services. We’ll not focus on what the current royalties are, but instead to try to explore what they could be in the future. This is really one of the most difficult issues in the industry, as the two sides (and really there are many more than two sides to this issue) come at the issue from far different perspectives. We will try to bridge those differences and explore where there might be common ground for music users and copyright holders to come together to arrive at mutually beneficial solutions to this thorny issue. The Internet Radio Fairness Act introduced in Congress last year brought this issue into sharp focus. That Act sought to bring about a number of reforms in the way that the Copyright Royalty Board sets various music royalties – particularly the rates that apply to Internet radio stations. We wrote about the provisions of the bill dealing with Internet radio royalties soon after the bill was introduced. After that article, there was a Congressional hearing on the issue, and lots of debate before the bill died at the end of the year as the session of Congress expired. This year, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee has promised a number of hearings on all aspects of music and audio copyright issues, though none have yet been scheduled. But the debate about IRFA last year illustrated the divide between the various sides in the music royalty debate. As soon as IRFA was introduced, DC players started to choose up sides – with Internet radio operators, the Consumer Electronic Association, and others supporting the Act, and most record labels and artists opposing it. The opposition also recruited some unlikely supporters, including the NAACP, the National Music Publishers Association and Grover Norquist of the “no tax increase” pledge fame. Why do these groups oppose the act – whose principal purpose is to make the decisions as to royalties for Internet radio the same standard (the 801b standard about which we wrote here ) as that used to determine the royalties for other digital music services (such as Sirius XM ) subject to a statutory royalty? As noted in these pages before, I represent Internet radio companies on royalty issues, so I want that potential bias to be on the table as I explore the differences in positions in this article.