And it will all come down how many elected officials in Washington want radio to pay artists to air their music, and how many believe it’s a fair value-for-value model.
Two House Representatives are framing their side of the debate by saying radio is being unfair, they make billions on the backs of these artists and its time to pay up.
On Thursday morning in Washington, DC, U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) introduced the American Music Fairness Act, which is legislation
requiring radio stations to pay artists for airing their songs.
The legislation includes an exemption for stations that generate less than $1.5 million in annual revenue and whose parent company generates less than $10 million. Those stations would pay $500 per year for unlimited music.
The real target is the bigger stations. What the big companies would pay, if this Bill passes, would be determined by the Copyright Royalty Board in the rate-setting process. It’s a complicated formula determined by the three-judge panel and is typically based on revenues for non-exempted stations.
Representative Deutch said what’s taking place now is unfair to artists. “Across America, recording artists and music creators are working to build a good life for themselves and their families by playing the music they love, but the rules are rigged against them. For far too long, our broken system has let FM/AM radio stations get away with refusing to pay artists when they play their music. It’s time to right this wrong, because paying people for their hard work is the fair thing to do. This bipartisan bill will require that corporate broadcasters fairly compensate recording artists and music creators when they play their songs on FM/AM radio.”
Representative Issa says the rights of artists need to be protected. “Since the global pandemic shuttered live venues, closed recording studios and music makers have struggled almost as never before, corporate broadcasters have continued to profit from the artists and musicians whose performances make all of it possible. It’s time for all of them to receive compensation for their hard work and timeless art. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and introduce the American Music Fairness Act.”
musicFIRST Chairman Joe Crowley commented following the press conference. “The rules have been rigged in favor of a few massive, multi-billion-dollar media companies for far too long. I’m thankful my former colleagues are taking up this cause. The introduction of the American Music Fairness Act is a crucial step in the fight for music fairness, and I’ll do everything in my power to help ensure it gets signed into law. It’s time to balance the scales and ensure that hard-working artists all over this country are paid fairly for everything they do to make the music we love.”