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Frank Sinatra

The Chairman of the Board Led the Charge for a Performance Right

In the United States there is only one platform that fails to pay music creators when their music is played — terrestrial radio. Thirty years ago, Frank Sinatra sounded a call to his fellow artists on this issue—encouraging them to learn more and to take up the cause together. Now, 30 years later, music creators and other industry stakeholders are still advocating for artists to be paid fairly.



Frank Sinatra is one of the biggest stars the music world has ever known. 30 years ago, he helped raise the profile of a gross inequity facing all music creators: the lack of a performance royalty right for sound recordings in the U.S. The world knows Frank Sinatra was committed to his craft, but contemporaries know he cared deeply about the well-being of artists. In his 1988 letter to some of the best-known artists of the time, he urged them to join him in advocating on behalf of all artists to ensure that terrestrial broadcasters paid performers for the music that made terrestrial radio what it was then and is today.
In 1988, Sinatra made a call to action and became a vocal advocate for a sound recording performance right in the U.S. He started by reaching out to 24 other iconic artists for their support. From Bruce Springsteen to Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald to Diana Ross, Willie Nelson to Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra asked for support from some of the biggest names in music.
Years after her father issued this call to action, Nancy Sinatra picked up the torch and joined other artists in continuing the fight for a performance royalty right. To this day she and the Sinatra family are committed to the cause — a right for artists to be paid fairly when their music is played on broadcast radio.
In 2018, Congress worked with music creators to craft and pass the Music Modernization Act. This historic piece of legislation ensures that artists from every generation will be paid fairly when their music is played on all platforms, with the exception of AM/FM radio. Big radio used its might to yet again avoid having to pay artists more fairly for their work.
Today a new generation of artist leaders has the opportunity to pick up Sinatra's mantle and continue the fight for a performance right in the United States. The U.S. currently stands in the company of China, Iran and North Korea as the handful of nations that still refuse to recognize the rights of music creators. By failing to fairly pay artists when their music is played here at home, we also lose out on royalties artists are entitled to when their music is played abroad. Correcting this injustice is long overdue. It's time bring together music creators and their fans to fight for a performance right.