Huppe Calls Out SiriusXM, Rips Radio


We are bringing you this latest news because we want to make sure you know it’s not going away and you should stay involved in the process. In an op-ed in Billboard, SoundExchange CEO Michael Huppe called on SiriusXM to support legislation that would ensure music creators who created songs before 1972 would be fairly compensated on satellite radio and digital streaming services. Huppe was calling on SiriusXM to support the CLASSICS Act at the same time he ripped into radio.

Huppe wrote, “This situation has progressed, in large measure, because the music industry and digital service providers – often divided – similarly worked together to craft a unified package of reforms. More than 20 organizations representing artists, songwriters, composers, record labels, music publishers, performance rights organizations, and streaming services (such as Pandora) support these bills and are asking Congress to pass them as part of a unified piece of music legislation in 2018.”

Huppe then went after radio. “Broadcast radio should absolutely compensate creators of sound recordings. For far too long, terrestrial (FM) radio has used the music of hard working artists to attract listeners to their stations, while paying those artists nothing for their work.”

Radio has long argued, and many artists have agreed, that the free marketing and promotion radio stations offer artists is more than enough compensation. Artists consistently thank radio for playing their music and tell stories of the euphoria they feel the first time their music is being played on the radio.

In Huppe’s piece he goes on to say that the musicFIRST Coalition continues to pursue a terrestrial radio performance right through direct talks with radio broadcasters represented by the NAB. “We are hopeful that the music industry and radio broadcasters can resolve their differences, and that we can craft an agreement to pay artists for their work on radio as we have with virtually every other platform. But this issue is not yet ripe for legislation, and should not hold back the progress that we can otherwise make through the hard work of these 20-plus music groups.”


  1. Radio’s free ride at the expense of performers is over.

    Make a movie today, everyone gets paid: writers, actors, musicians, everyone. But radio playing music as its product pays only composers and writers …? And performers get… nothing?

    In a few words, ‘…not right, not from now on.’

    Wake up to 2018. The business of music, the media playing fields, the technology has evolved to a new day. Radio is no longer the only game in town. And others are paying to play in the game.

    Radio is not exempt. You pay to play. Period.

  2. Les Lanser
    Were there suddenly no radio, there would very soon be no quality music. The streaming gurus are unable to sustain the music industry, considering that none of them are making profit. There would be precious little quality music. It’s time for the music industry to afford the radio industry the respect it deserves for making the artists a success.

    • Today is not the 60’s, the 70’s or the 80’s.

      New music – ‘quality music’, as you suggest – is discovered in many other avenues besides radio. And those other avenues are paying to play which is a big reason they are not profitable. Yet.

      Respect is different from reality. Radio doesn’t play the same role today that it did yesterday.

      The rules have changed and so have the costs …

  3. Even if commercial stations ought pay music performance rights (theoretically they profit from it), non-profit, non-commercial radio stations should pay NOTHING. After all, why should a non-commercial radio station be required to subsidize the commercial business of the recording industry? Makes no sense.

  4. As one of the “snivelers” that has had to compete with all kinds of internet services it boils down to who owns the song. It is the composer. That’s what copyrights are all about. It’s not our fault that performers don’t sell albums anymore. We are prohibited by law from charging performers for our airtime. If you guys want a royalty then you also should have to pay to play. Who wins there? Nobody!

  5. “Broadcast radio should absolutely compensate creators of sound recordings. For far too long, terrestrial (FM) radio has used the music of hard working artists to attract listeners to their stations, while paying those artists nothing for their work.” Says Huppe.

    Actually, radio does pay the composers a royalty for every “spin of a record.” I have worked on both the radio side and the label side. What everyone seems to forget about radio is that every time a song is played, its like a 3 minute long commercial for the artist’s music and appearances. For the most part, the only thing radio has to sell is airtime (not including minimal NTR.) Everyone BUT musicians pay to be on. My opinion as a participant in both sides is, if you want to be paid for radio running your 3 minute long commercial, you can pay commercial rates for every song radio plays.

    • What you’re saying is already factored in with free radio shows that artists do, or presenting sponsorships that radio stations get with major concerts in their town. The record labels and artists are not losing money with FM airplay. The RIAA has been lobbying for a new royalty for over ten years, and during that time, labels and artists have developed new ways to get their money without the royalty.

  6. Michael Huppe is a very nice man, but in point of fact, SoundExchange has no role in this discussion. SoundExchange was created to collect digital royalties, and broadcast radio pays SoundExhange millions of dollars for streaming royalties. That’s why he relegates this to Music First. But the real problem here isn’t paying the artists. The music industry always brings up the artists as the ones being cheated. But if radio paid the artists, then they’d also have to pay the record labels. Then they’d also have to pay the musicians. Then the songwriters would be angry because their former 100% was now more like 10%. So this seemingly simple solution isn’t so simple. The artists, labels, musicians, and songwriters currently get paid for the digital use of music, and all of them are unhappy about the amount of money they’re getting. So just paying artists isn’t really what Huppe or the music industry wants.

  7. Yes, Biggie, I get that.
    Then offer the artists a deal they don’ refuse.
    I never, I mean: never understood why the performers were shut out in the first place.
    Only composers, lyricists and publishers get the dough.

    • The artists have to come to the negotiating table to do that. So far, they haven’t. They all want a federal right, and for that, they have to go to Congress. They’ve been lobbying Congress non-stop for a very long time. There have been multiple laws proposed, but none have gone anywhere.

      The original reason performers were shut out was because the law was written at a time when they didn’t care about getting money from radio. The writers, on the other hand, managed to get 100% of the royalty, and radio pays them for the right to play their music. The songwriters are the creators, and the creators are compensated.

  8. Radio’s argument about “free artist promotion” is disingenuous, particularly given the strangled playlists that constitute radio policy, and which has been the case since Top-40 became the norm.
    Radio has still refused to improve its on-air presentations and advertiser services while snivelling about having to accept the expense of the only product that is still held in the highest esteem, while being absolutely necessary. The music.
    Can a Go Fund Me campaign be in the cards?

    • Radio has always paid the writers. They are the creators of the music. They get 100% of the royalty in the US. That’s the way the law was written a long time ago. There’s really nothing radio can do about the copyright law. It’s all tied up in Congress. The NAB offered the artists and labels a royalty 8 years ago, but it was rejected.


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