In a December 29 op-ed appearing in The Washington Post, singer Duke Fakir called on Congress for passage of the Classics Act to ensure digital radio cannot exploit artists by amending federal law to require the same digital royalties for all music, whenever it was recorded. Currently, payment for recordings made before 1972 are not covered under federal law but dictated by state law. This has allowed digital services such as SiriusXM to claim those laws allow them to use pre-72 music without paying royalties.
In the article, Fakir, founding member of the Four Tops, said, in part: “This digital rip-off has been a disaster for many older artists, diverting the fruits of their labors—funds that should be their lifeline—to the balance sheets of some of the wealthiest companies in the world … We’ve been stuck for a long time in the fight for fairness for music creators. And the Classics Act isn’t the end of the road. We need to finally ensure the payment of a fair performance royalty for terrestrial radio and close the loopholes that allow big companies to collect huge profits while paying next to nothing for music.”