American AM-FM Act Seeking Fair Payment For Musicians From Radio Broadcasters

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“The AM-FM Act seeks to ensure fair compensation for music creators, end unfair practices harming the music market, and empower copyright owners with new consent rights while providing exceptions for small and noncommercial stations.”

The term ‘starving artist’ is unfortunately a reality in the lives of many creatives, as their skill, creativity and hard work is overlooked and they find themselves underpaid. This remains true in the music world, even for those who have found a decent amount of commercial success; musicians and those involved in the music-making process still find themselves being ripped off by platforms such as streaming services and radio stations – two of the worst offenders.

When music creators share their wonderful gift with the world, we hear songs that inspire and unite us. We should encourage such thriving talent and ensure the music community is properly compensated for their work.” – Sen. Blackburn

In a bid to combat the unfair treatment of musicians (as well as all those involved in the music process) a bi-partisan bill has been introduced into the American House and Senate entitled the Ask Musicians For Music Act (AM-FM) – co-sponsored by American Senator Marsha Blackburn and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler.

If the bill is passed, this would hold radio services accountable for providing fair and accurate royalties to all creators whose music is broadcasted on their platforms.

The United States is an outlier in the world for not requiring broadcast radio to pay artists when playing their music, while requiring satellite and internet radio to pay. This is unfair to both artists and music providers. I’m proud to sponsor the Ask Musician For Music Act of 2019 which would give artists and copyright owners the right to make a choice to allow AM/FM radio to use their work for free or to seek compensation for their work.” – Chairman Nadler

The bill has received substantial support from multiple organisations including the National Music Publishers Association, SoundExchange, Recording Academy and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA):

Not everyone is in support of the AM-FM act however, below is a short excerpt from the CEO and president of NAB (The National Association of Broadcasters) Gordon Smith‘s statement:

NAB opposes the AM-FM Act, which could decimate the economics of America’s hometown radio stations that have launched the careers of countless musicians and exposed legacy artists to a new generation of listeners…

You can read the full statement from NAB here, as well as further details on AM-FM act here.