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musicFIRST Looks Back on a Strong 2021 Campaign for Music Fairness

17 December 2021

Washington, DC, December 17, 2021 — musicFIRST — the voice for fairness and equity for music creators — today marked a momentous year that brought music creators closer to ending a century-long injustice: the failure of broadcasters to pay them when their music is played on AM/FM radio.

“For far too long, the rules have been rigged in favor of a few massive radio corporations. Instead of fighting for middle class musicians, we’ve allowed these corporations to profit off artists’ hard work without offering any compensation,” said Congressman Joe Crowley, Chairman of musicFIRST. “We’ve made great strides toward music fairness in 2021, but there’s still much to be done to finally put an end to this unjust imbalance of power and to finally put these artists above radio profits.”

The cause for music fairness was reinvigorated with the introduction of the landmark  American Music Fairness Act — sponsored by Reps. Darrell Issa and Ted Deutch in June — that would require billion-dollar radio corporations such as iHeartRadio to fairly compensate musicians for playing their music. Members of Congress co-sponsoring the legislation include: Reps. Diana Harshbarger, Lucy McBath, Michael McCaul, Adam Schiff, Karen Bass, Julia Brownley, Judy Chu, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, Lou Correa, Adriano Espaillat, Jimmy Gomez, Mark Green, Brian Higgins, Jared Huffman, Pramila Jayapal, Ted Lieu, Tom McClintock, Gregory Meeks, Jerrold Nadler, Donald Norcross, Jamie Raskin, Bobby Rush, Brad Sherman, Thomas Suozzi, Bennie Thompson, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

These members of Congress were joined by powerful voices – from young, budding musicians to living legends like Dionne Warwick and Dickey Betts – speaking about the unfair treatment from radio stations. In addition, national leaders such as AFL-CIO’s president Liz Shuler called on Congress to pass the American Music Fairness Act. 

Americans want to see an end to this injustice. By a 2-1 margin, Americans call this lack of compensation unfair, according to a national survey.

Read more about the need to pass the American Music Fairness Act:

On social media, the fight for music fairness reached over 20 million users, garnering nearly 45 million impressions in total and earning support from artists like Cyndi Lauper, Elvis Costello, Eric Roberson, Chris Barron, Piper Perabo, and others.

musicFIRST is committed to building on these developments in 2022 and will work with Congressional leaders, artists, recording labels, and more to ensure the plight of music creators no longer goes unnoticed. 

For more information on musicFIRST and its fight for music fairness, head to musicfirstcoalition.org. 

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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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