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Music World Rallies Behind New AM-FM Act To Pay Artists For Radio Play
At long last, Congress has introduced legislation to overhaul terrestrial radio copyright laws. The Ask Musicians For Music Act (AM-FM) would finally establish a performance right for artists and require radio broadcasters to get the permission of artists prior to broadcasting their music.
The concept of “giving one’s OK before their work can be played” is in place on every music listening platform except AM/FM radio. This principle must be applied across all platforms. The #AskMusicians For Music Act is the answer.https://t.co/J7W1CLx2Fw pic.twitter.com/w0UiyAU8iP
— musicFIRST (@musicFIRST) November 22, 2019
Now, industry organizations, the music media and more have joined the Recording Academy and raised their voices in support of the AM-FM Act, adding to the bipartisan support it has in Washington. In fact, the bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and in the House by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and stakeholders such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and SoundExchange have already lauded the bill.
"We applaud Chairman Nadler and Senator Blackburn for their leadership in introducing bipartisan, bicameral legislation to ensure creators receive fair market value for their music on all platforms," RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier said. "By requiring broadcasters to get permission from music creators to use their music in the same way broadcasters are entitled to give permission for the use of their signal - the AM/FM Act addresses inequities in law that should be fixed."
— A2IM (@a2im) November 21, 2019
“The AM-FM Act ensures that the people who make the music have a protected property right in their own work by requiring broadcasters to get permission before they transmit recordings over the air,” added SoundExchange CEO Michael J. Huppe. “It sets the table for meaningful marketplace negotiations and ends the current market distortion in our laws that forces artists to subsidize the multi-billion-dollar FM radio broadcast industry.”
In the media, everyone from major outlets like Billboard, Variety and Pitchfork to more niche industry outlets such as Digital Music News and Complete Music Update, have picked up on the exciting and promising news for performers. Even local outlet Clarksville Online also jumped in to support their home-state Senator's new bill, quoting Sen. Blackburn on the significance of the AM-FM Act.
“When music creators share their wonderful gift with the world, we hear songs that inspire and unite us. We should encourage such thriving talent and ensure the music community is properly compensated for their work,” said Sen. Blackburn. “The AM-FM Act will reward singers, songwriters and musicians for their hard work when their music is played on the radio.”
— GRAMMY Advocacy (@GRAMMYAdvocacy) November 22, 2019
In a post titled "What Others Are Saying About the AM-FM Act," the musicFIRST Coalition rounded up positive reactions from stakeholder organizations outside the music orbit. One such reaction, from Seth L. Cooper of the Free State Foundation, tapped into the hypocrisy of broadcasters and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) who represents them in maintaining they deserve the same rights they deny musicians.
"Broadcasters have always defended this arrangement [not paying artists for their work] by arguing that they provide the marketing for music that listeners then go out and buy," Cooper said. "But as the industry has been turned upside down by technology, record and CD sales have plummeted and that argument has become badly outdated. Senator Blackburn’s bill rectifies this by simply requiring broadcasters to receive permission from artists before airing a song – which would allow artists who want the free exposure to get it, while others would choose to negotiate for compensation.”
The Recording Academy has continuously fought for a performance right, and its Chief Industry, Government, & Member Relations Officer Daryl P. Friedman perhaps summed it up best, saying, "The AM-FM Act will give artists control over what is rightfully theirs, their music,"
"The legislation is about consent for use of content, a basic concept that the [NAB] is seeking for its own television members," Friedman continued. "We thank Senator Blackburn and Representative Nadler for their leadership on this issue, and ask members of Congress who recognize the importance of intellectual property to join them and pass this legislation.”
You can add your voice to the chorus of support for the AM-FM Act by contacting your Members of Congress today and urging them to support this necessary legislation. For too long, American artists have missed out on the performance royalties they deserve when their music is enjoyed (and sold advertisements against) over the airwaves. Now is our chance to make this wrong right for music creators, broadcasters and listeners alike.