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Corporate radio loophole is unfair, unjustified and un-American

Feb 25, 03:09 PM

Recording Artists Spanning Genres and Decades Join Legislators to Kick-Off Campaign to Create a Fair Performance Right on Radio

Corporate radio loophole is unfair, unjustified and un-American

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, artists and musicians, including will.i.am, Sheryl Crow, Herbie Hancock, Emmylou Harris, Patti LaBelle, Matt Maher, Los Tigres del Norte and Dionne Warwick, joined members of Congress to kick off the effort to pass the Performance Rights Act, legislation that will close the corporate radio loophole and create a fair performance right on radio for America’s artists and musicians. Each spoke in support of the act for themselves and for artists and musicians from across the music community. Representatives from the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) were also in attendance, including Director of Government Relations Hal Ponder.

“It’s unfair, unjustified and un-American that artists and musicians are paid absolutely nothing when their recordings are played on AM and FM radio,” said Jennifer Bendall, executive director of the musicFIRST Coalition. “Music is their work, their livelihood. They deserve to be compensated when their music is played on the air.”

Artists and musicians are compensated when their music is played on satellite, cable and internet radio. Due to a loophole in copyright law, AM and FM radio receives a free pass to broadcast the performances of every artist and musician every day without providing fair compensation.

“AM and FM radio stations earn billions of dollars in ad revenues every year without compensating the artists and musicians who bring music to life and listeners’ ears to the radio dial,” Bendall said. “Every artist and musician from the biggest stars to background singers and from session musicians to legacy artists deserves fair pay for airplay.”

The Performance Rights Act (S. 379 and H.R. 848) was introduced in the Senate earlier this month by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and in the House by Representative John Conyers (D-MI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jane Harman (D-CA), John Shadegg (R-AZ) and Paul Hodes (D-NH).

The Performance Rights Act will bring the United States in line with almost every other nation in the world. Only a few countries do not provide a fair performance right on radio, including Iran, North Korea, China and the U.S. And because U.S. radio stations do not pay a performance royalty for foreign artists, American artists are not compensated when their music is played on stations around the world – an inequity that costs American artists tens of millions of dollars each year.

“Artists and musicians are engaged as never before and determined to close the corporate radio loophole,” Bendall said. “We are grateful for the leadership of our Senate and House champions. We look forward to working with them to close the corporate radio loophole and to ensure American artists and musicians have a fair performance right on radio.”

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People who love music understand that creativity, talent and hard work are required to bring it to life. The goal of the musicFIRST (Fairness in Radio Starting Today) Coalition is to ensure that aspiring performers, local musicians and well-known artists are compensated for their music when it is played both today and in the future. Of all the ways we listen to music, corporate radio is the only one that receives special treatment. Corporate radio has a free pass to play music – refusing to pay even a fraction of a penny to the performers that brought it to life. The musicFIRST (Fairness in Radio Starting Today) Coalition is committed to making sure everyone, from up-and-coming artists to our favorites from years-ago, is guaranteed Fair Pay for Air Play. For more information on the musicFIRST (Fairness in Radio Starting Today) Coalition please visit www.musicFIRSTcoalition.org.

Supporting organizations include: American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Christian Music Trade Association (CMTA), Music Managers Forum – USA (MMF- USA), The Latin Recording Academy, The Recording Academy, The Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Inc, Recording Artists’ Coalition (RAC), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Society of Singers, SoundExchange and Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

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