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Music Creators Take on Broadcasters in Renewed Fight for Fair Pay

28 May 2020

Yesterday, advocates for music creators appeared in a Senate Judiciary Committee staff briefing and urged Congress to recognize a terrestrial performance right for artists whose work is played on AM/FM radio and who are currently not compensated for it.

U.S.Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Ranking Member Chris Coons (D-DE) asked experts from across the music industry to weigh in on the need for terrestrial performance right and the impact it would have on artists and the radio industry. Among those advocating for music creators and their right to be fairly compensated when their work is played on the radio were Colin Rushing, Chief Legal Officer for SoundExchange, Dr. Richard James Burgess, President and CEO of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and Harvey Mason Jr., Chair and Interim CEO of the Recording Academy. A representative from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) also participated.

While SoundExchange, A2IM and the Recording Academy all represent different constituencies of music creators, they all agree on one fundamental principle – music creators deserve to be fairly compensated when their work is played on terrestrial AM/FM radio:

Our industry has been fighting from the very beginning to have music paid for by the radio stations that use it. The consequence of the current legal regime is… the single biggest source of music listening in this country not obligated to pay for that music at all.” –Colin Rushing, Chief Legal Officer at SoundExchange

I don’t know of another industry that’s forced by law to hand over its primary product with zero compensation so that another industry can profit from it.” – Dr. Richard James Burgess, President and CEO of A2IM

“The radio industry is celebrating its 100 anniversary this year. Can we all agree that a century is long enough for radio to join every other platform and every other country in paying fairly for the music that drives their business?” – Harvey Mason Jr., Chair and Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Recording Academy

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