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Music Creators to iHeart: Have a Heart, End the Injustice of Denying Performers Payment for AM/FM Radio Plays

07 February 2022

New York City, NY, February 7, 2022 – Music creators today brought the fight for justice to iHeartRadio’s corporate front door, calling on the billion-dollar broadcaster to stop putting profits over artists and pay performers when music is played on AM/FM radio.

Trucks with images and videos demanding economic justice for artists circled iHeart’s NYC headquarters on Monday to remind company executives that they must face the music and end decades of injustice. The demonstration capped a week where Congress held a hearing on legislation requiring billion-dollar broadcast companies to pay artists for their work and 14,500 music makers and music lovers wrote members of iHeart’s board asking to meet to discuss music fairness.

“The music fairness movement is not going away. We will bring the fight to the halls of Congress as well as the corporate front doors of billion-dollar broadcasters such as iHeart until this injustice is rectified,” said musicFIRST Chairman Congressman Joe Crowley. “Economic justice demands that music creators get paid for their work. It’s time to end the billion-dollar broadcaster loophole that has long denied performers the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Momentum for music fairness — and congressional action to ensure it — is building:

  • Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the American Music Fairness Act, which would end a decades-long injustice by finally paying music creators royalties for AM/FM radio song plays. The legislation also specifically protects small broadcasters: stations grossing less than $1.5 million a year would have their annual royalty payment capped at $500, or $1.37 a day. In defending the indefensible, National Association of Broadcaster CEO Curtis LeGeyt at one point argued during the hearing that if the owners of smaller stations were required to pay $500 per year to play unlimited music, it could mean their children couldn’t go to summer camp – leaving out that for many artists not getting paid for their work presents much more dire outcomes (such as being unable to afford to pay their rent or health insurance, for example) than sending their children away for the summer.
  • Artist and activist Blake Morgan spearheaded the outreach to members of the board of iHeart seeking a meeting to discuss artist compensation, speaking on behalf of his #IRespectMusic movement’s more than 14,000 members. “Broadcasters––which generate billions of dollars in advertising revenue per year by playing our music on your radio stations––have never paid a penny to the artists who make your profits possible,” Morgan wrote to board members in a letter. “The message to iHeart and all other large broadcasting companies is we are not going away. They cannot hide behind their lobbying arm the NAB any longer. We are asking them to meet to discuss how artists can be paid.”
  • The American people support music fairness. A brand new poll commissioned by musicFIRST found that Americans overwhelmingly agree that music creators should be paid royalties for AM/FM radio plays. By a 3-1 margin, Americans said it’s unfair that artists do not get paid when their music is played on AM/FM radio. And a similar number support congressional action to address this injustice.

“iHeart is learning that justice can be delayed but it can’t be denied,” said Crowley. “And justice will be served when the American Music Fairness Act is passed and signed into law this year.”

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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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