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Kevin Bacon, Cyndi Lauper, HANSON and More Iconic Artists Call on Congress to Pass the American Music Fairness Act

01 November 2022

More than 60 prominent music artists and creators unite to kick off Music Fairness Awareness Month, send joint letter to lawmakers

Washington, DC, November 1, 2022 — musicFIRST — the voice for fairness and equity for music creators — celebrates the efforts of a powerhouse group of more than 60 artists, creators and activists who signed a joint letter on Tuesday urging Members of Congress to stand up for fair compensation for artists by passing the bipartisan American Music Fairness Act without delay.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Kicking off Music Fairness Awareness Month — an annual effort by music creators throughout the month of November to bring attention to a decades-long injustice that denies artists fair pay for their work — the letter calls on Senators and Representatives to “align with the rest of the developed world and ensure that our hard-working artists are compensated fairly.” The United States is currently the only democratic country in the world where artists are not paid when their music is played on AM/FM radio.

The letter’s signatories include several prominent luminaries of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, such as: Kevin Bacon, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, HANSON, Peter Frampton, Jackson Browne, Sammy Hagar, Pat Benatar, Sheila E, Dan Aykroyd, Deana Carter, Rick Springfield, Kevin Cronin (of REO Speedwagon), “Soul Man” Sam Moore, Indigo Girls, Chris Difford (of Squeeze), Ricky Minor, Jon Secada, and BeBe Winans, among others.

The fight for music fairness is far from new: artists have been working to call attention to this injustice for more than 80 years now. And today, we’re seeing renewed momentum for change to our nation’s outdated laws, with a growing number of well-known and beloved artists joining their voices to speak out on behalf of the American Music Fairness Act and demand action.

“This Music Fairness Awareness Month and beyond, we’re proud to stand with artists in their honorable fight to finally get the compensation they deserve for the use of their work on AM/FM radio,” said Congressman Joe Crowley, Chairman of the musicFIRST Coalition. “Big Radio corporations like iHeartRadio make billions of dollars in profit by filling their airwaves with music, and it’s only right that they should pay a fair share to the artists whose hard work makes their whole business possible. It’s just common sense. Artists support the American Music Fairness Act. The American public supports the American Music Fairness Act. And now, it’s time for Congress to make it law.”

The legislation — which was introduced in the House by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) in June 2021, and received companion legislation in the Senate last month from Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Alex Padilla (D-CA) — offers a common-sense approach to ensuring music artists receive compensation for the use of their work. It will finally require large broadcast corporations to pay performance royalties to creators for AM/FM radio plays, just as all other digital and streaming platforms do. Notably, the bill protects local radio by including broad exemptions for small, college and non-commercial stations, which would enable these stations to play unlimited music for no more than $500 per year — or less than $2 per day.

The bill received a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year, where music legend Gloria Estefan testified that the legislation would help “hundreds of thousands of Americans who endeavor to make a living making music,” many of whom take on multiple jobs just to make ends meet. “The American Music Fairness Act is for them,” Estefan said at the time — and now she is joining forces with this group of distinguished artists to continue her support on this critical issue for the creative community.

A fact sheet about the bill’s provisions is available to download here.

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About musicFIRST
musicFIRST works to ensure music creators get fair pay for their work on all platforms and wherever and however it is played. We rally the people and organizations who make and love music to end the broken status quo that allows AM/FM to use any song ever recorded without paying its performers a dime. And to stand up for fair pay on digital radio — and whatever comes next.

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