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Statement On 2022’s Historic Progress Towards Music Fairness

23 December 2022

The fight for economic justice for artists has taken hold.

Washington, DC, December 23, 2022In response to Congress concluding its business for the current session, Congressman Joe Crowley, Chairman of the musicFIRST Coalition, issued the following statement:

“In the music community, 2022 will be remembered as the year that our cause for economic justice took hold. Together, we sent a clear message that the days when broadcast corporations can abuse artists are coming to an end.

The proposal to finally compensate music creators when their songs are played on AM/FM radio made more progress in 2022 than in any year since 2009 — receiving a successful hearing and ultimately being passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, while also securing bipartisan support in the Senate. We want to thank our congressional champions — particularly Chairman Jerry Nadler and Reps. Darrell Issa and Ted Deutch in the House, as well as Sens. Alex Padilla and Marsha Blackburn in the Senate — for their tireless support for artists. We look forward to continuing our partnership as we build on this momentum and take the fight for music fairness even further in 2023.

iHeart and other billion-dollar corporations spent millions of dollars lobbying and running ads in an attempt to stop our movement — yet our momentum is stronger than ever. Why? Because lawmakers, like the rest of America, are waking up to the injustice that broadcasters impose on one of our nation’s most treasured assets: the creators who make the music we love. 

These leaders listened as artists described the hardship they endure when broadcast corporations refuse to pay them for their work. They listened as their constituents — roughly 60% percent of whom supported this legislation, according to recent polling — talked about the diminished role of radio in their music discovery and their desire to see their favorite artists finally get compensated for their work. And they listened as community broadcasters — the heart of small towns and true champions of local artists — refused to buy into the National Association of Broadcasters’ zero-sum game that falsely claims artists must lose for radio to win.

This debate has shifted indeed, and that was never more apparent than in the comments that lawmakers made at the recent House Judiciary Committee markup. Zero is not an amount to pay for the primary input for any business, especially when that input is the music that our country treasures. 

iHeart and other broadcasters may breathe a sigh of relief – but it will be short-lived. Emboldened by the progress of our cause, musicFIRST will redouble our efforts. In 2022, we banged on the door of economic injustice. In the next Congress, we will kick it in.” 

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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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