Support Artists’ Performance Right on Radio
The Recording Academy has long championed the establishment of a terrestrial radio (AM/FM) performance right for sound recordings, and worked alongside key Congressional champions, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), to draft the AM-FM Act, formally known as the Ask Musicians for Music Act (H.R. 5219; S. 2932). With strong support from the Recording Academy, the AM-FM Act was introduced in both the House and Senate on November 21, 2019.
What Is the AM-FM Act?
The AM-FM Act is a bipartisan and bicameral bill that establishes a performance right for sound recordings broadcast by terrestrial (AM/FM) radio. The bill ends a decades-long loophole that has enabled AM/FM radio broadcasters to use the music of hard-working performers and producers without obtaining any form of permission or paying any compensation.
The AM-FM Act gives creators control of their own intellectual property by requiring broadcasters to obtain permission before broadcasting a copyright-protected sound recording. Under the AM-FM Act, artists, producers, and copyright owners would be able to negotiate fair market rates with broadcasters in exchange for permission for it to be aired. The bill also contains important protections for small and non-profit broadcasters to ensure that local and community supported radio stations can continue to be diverse and thrive.
Why Do We Need the AM-FM Act and a Performance Right on Radio?
Empowering creators to have control over their own intellectual property is a fundamental and constitutionally protected right in America. Unfortunately, this does not hold true for AM/FM radio—the only industry in the U.S. that is legally authorized to use the intellectual property of others without permission or compensation. Big radio corporations have earned billions in advertising revenues by exploiting music and its creators, while the creators themselves have lost out on millions of dollars of potential royalties.
The lack of a domestic performance right is exacerbated by the fact that virtually every industrialized country in the world—with the exception of the U.S., China, Iran, and North Korea—recognizes a performance right on radio. When American music is played overseas, other countries collect royalties for American artists—approximately $200 million annually—but never pay those royalties because the U.S. does not reciprocate with our own performance right.
"I’m proud to sponsor the Ask Musician For Music Act of 2019 which would give artists and copyright owners the right to make a choice to allow AM/FM radio to use their work for free or to seek compensation for their work. ... This is what music creators want and deserve."
— Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
"When music creators share their wonderful gift with the world, we hear songs that inspire and unite us. ... The AM-FM Act will reward singers, songwriters and musicians for their hard work when their music is played on the radio."
— Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
Who Supports the AM-FM Act?
In addition to the Recording Academy, the AM-FM Act is supported by the RIAA, A2IM, SoundExchange, American Federation of Musicians, NMPA, musicFIRST, Citizens Against Government Waste, Free State Foundation, American Commitment, and the Center for Individual Freedom.
Even the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) support the principle behind the bill—at least when it comes to their television members. Throughout the 116th Congress, the NAB has lobbied for satellite, cable, and other TV providers to obtain broadcasters’ permission before using their programming, and to be paid fairly for their programming. The AM-FM Act sets the stage for music creators to be granted that same right.
What’s Next for the AM-FM Act?
The AM-FM Act has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee—chaired by Rep. Nadler—and the Senate Judiciary Committee—of which Senator Blackburn serves—for consideration. The Recording Academy, working alongside proponents of the bill, will make the AM-FM Act a top legislative priority during the second session of the 116th Congress.
To help advance the bill, supporters are encouraged to contact their lawmakers and ask for their support:
News About the AM-FM Act