I wrote in August about Sirius/XM’s strange contention that it shoudn’t have to pay performance royalties on recordings made before an arbitrary date in 1972.
I was visiting my parents over the Thanksgiving weekend. On Thanksgiving morning, my Mom was on the phone with, who else… Sirius XM.
She was renewing her subscription. Mom loves the 60’s, especially Motown. That’s the only reason she subscribes to Sirius XM. They have a station called the “60s on 6” that plays nothing but 60’s music.
Sirius XM also has the “40s on 4” and the “50s on 5.” They have a station called Elvis radio, the Grateful Dead Channel, BB King’s Bluesville, and Oldies Party.
Dad’s a huge Arlo Guthrie fan and SiriusXM made a lot of noise this weekend about playing that Thanksgiving classic, Alice’s Restaurant.
But they don’t want to pay the performers who made the songs that presumably constitute the vast majority of airplay on those stations.
At the same time, conspicuously on her bill they assess charges for a “music royalty fee” and point to their website for further explanation.
It doesn’t say anything about not paying for performances before a certain day in 1972.
So, they take money for music that is clearly worth a lot to their listeners, or they would not dedicate entire stations to it, and then turn around and tell performers they are due nothing. That’s not valuing music, it is strip-mining it.
Fortunately, one of our champions is on the case in a USA Today op-ed. It's authored by the highest Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, Jr., who authored the Performance Rights Act and led the opposition to IRFA, giving it the unforgettable moniker, the “Paycheck Reduction Act.” As Mr. Conyers says, valuing music means r-e-s-p-e-c-t-i-n–g the people who create it.