ICYMI – SoundExchange’s Mike Huppe and Common Take on Radio’s Refusal to Pay Artists
Friday, October 11, 2019 marks the one year anniversary of the historic Music Modernization Act (MMA) becoming the law of the land. The MMA brought U.S. music licensing into the 21st century and delivered justice for legacy music creators, yet America still has strides to make when it comes to ensuring fair compensation for music creators wherever their work is played. That means addressing terrestrial AM/FM radio.
In an op-ed published in Variety, Michael Huppe, SoundExchange President/CEO and Common, an artist, actor and GRAMMY Award Winner, call on Congress to finally address this historic injustice and ensure terrestrial radio compensates music creators when their work is broadcast on AM/FM radio.
Excepts of Michael Huppe’s and Common’s op-ed are below.
“The biggest and most profitable music platform in America—FM radio— with 200+ million listeners and $17B in annual revenue, pays nothing to the people who record the music that is the lifeblood of their business. Never have. Not a penny. If that’s not bad enough, because US radio broadcasters don’t pay a performance royalty to artists, American artists are also stiffed abroad, even in countries where royalties are collected for radio airplay. That reults in American creators collectively losing out on close to $200M in royalties every year.”
“There have been previous attempts to remedy this injustice and Congressional leaders have asked the music industry to try to negotiate an agreement with FM broadcasters more than once. But you can imagine how long a negotiation lasts when radio broadcasters can walk away from the table and continue to pay nothing for their staple input. With no actual property right granted to creators, they have very little leverage to bargain over. “
“We can right this wrong with the simple act of giving music creators a property right in their own work. No one can call our copyright laws “modernized” until FM radio is held to the same standard as the music services it competes with on the dashboard and in American homes—the ones who pay artists. This is the longest standing inequity in our copyright laws, and it’s time to get real about solving it.”
“Now is the time to take action. We must come together and call upon Congress to right these wrongs. Whether you’re an artist, a senator, or a construction worker, we all deserve to be paid properly and fairly for our hard work. That’s how we’ll protect this generation of artists, and the next.”