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musicFIRST Applauds Bill Giving Artists Say Before Their Work is Played on AM/FM Radio

21 November 2019

Bi-Partisan Introduction of Ask Musicians for Music Act in the U.S. Congress

Washington, D.C. (November 21, 2019) – Today the musicFIRST Coalition celebrated the introduction of bipartisan legislation in Congress that would end terrestrial radio’s ability to use music without first obtaining any form of permission from the people who recorded it.

The bipartisan Ask Musicians for Music (AMFM) Act, , was introduced by U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in the U.S. House of Representatives and by Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) n the U.S. Senate. The AMFM Act gives music creators control of their own work by requiring broadcasters to obtain consent before playing – and profiting from – their music.

“The AMFM 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,” said 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. I applaud Senator Blackburn and Chairman Nadler for their continued commitment to ending this egregious inequity for American music creators.”

For many decades, radio broadcasters have made billions of dollars every year convincing their audience to listen to advertising with the promise of great music on the other side. Current law has allowed them to exploit music for profit without paying a penny to the artists who bring that music to life.

Under the AMFM Act, artists who want to allow terrestrial radio to continue to use their work for free can choose to do so. Artists who seek compensation for their work can exercise their right to negotiate rates for the use of their sound recordings from broadcasters. Both bills provide special treatment by protecting small, public, college, and other non-commercial stations. A summary of the legislation can be found here.

The concept of obtaining permission before airing content is not new to broadcasters. In fact, the AMFM Act asserts the same rights for music creators that broadcasters demand for themselves for the retransmission of tv content. Similarties between the AMFM Act and the demands broadcasters make about their own content are illustrated here.

To learn more about the AMFM Act, join the conversation on Twitter: @musicFIRST #AskMusicians.

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