On April 13, AFM President Ray Hair gathered with other music industry leaders to show support for the Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015, introduced by representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). This monumental legislation would finally ensure that musicians are compensated fairly when their music is played on any radio platform—Internet, satellite, or traditional AM/FM. Also present at the launch were AFM International Executive Board member (IEB) and Local 257 President (Nashville, TN) David Pomeroy; IEB and Local 802 (New York City) President Tino Gagliardi; as well as representatives from the musicFIRST Coalition; record labels; and the music community.
Under the current legislation, a loophole allows AM/FM radio to play music without compensating musicians, singers, and featured artists. Internet radio and satellite radio both compensate performers, but satellite pays a lower rate. Due to another loophole, some digital services are also claiming they don’t have to pay for pre-1972 recordings. The Fair Play Fair Pay Act would level the playing field.
“Professional musicians should be adequately compensated for the joy we bring to the world,” says Hair. “The US is the only Western nation denying terrestrial radio performance rights to musicians, who are struggling in today’s economy. Not only is this shameful, it is costing hard-working musicians millions of dollars.”
Hair explains that the problem even extends to music played overseas. US musicians and artists are also losing millions annually because other countries that do collect performance royalties are not paying US musicians, because the US does not reciprocate to non-US artists.
“It is time for Congress to update music licensing laws,” says musicFirst Coalition Executive Director Ted Kalo. “AM/FM radio, satellite radio, and Internet radio exist side by side in car dashboards and compete for the same listeners. But whether performers or copyright owners are paid, and how much, depends solely on what button you press or app you choose. On Internet radio, it is one rate. On satellite, it is a different, lower rate. And on AM/FM, there is no rate at all—music creators get paid nothing. I think we can agree that makes no sense.”
Join the thousands of musicians and music lovers supporting this bipartisan legislation (#FairPlayFairPay), visit: musicfirst-coalition.rallycongress.com.