Radio Station Owner’s Costs Might Rise

New ‘AM-FM Act’ Performance Fee Bills Introduced In House, Senate

November 21, 2019 at 2:40 PM (PT)

AM-FM Bill

Bills have been introduced in the Senate and House that would require all radio stations to pay performance royalties to musicians. The “Ask Musicians For Music Act” (AM-FM Act) was introduced by Sen. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN) in the Senate and Rep. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY) in the House. The bill, requiring stations to pay performers “fair market value” for music rights, contains exceptions for “small and noncommercial stations.”

Performance rights fees have been a point of contention between broadcasters and artists for decades, with the Local Radio Freedom Act, which would block any requirement of radio to pay performance royalties, stalling out in the House several times in past years. It was introduced again earlier this year but has yet to be brought to a vote.

“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,” said BLACKBURN. “The AM-FM Act will reward singers, songwriters and musicians for their hard work when their music is played on the radio.”

“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,” said NADLER. “This is unfair to both artists and music providers. I’m proud to sponsor the Ask Musicians 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. The bill would also allow them to negotiate rates with broadcasters in exchange for permission for it to be aired. This is what music creators want and deserve.”

“The AM-FM Act will give artists control over what is rightfully theirs, their music,” said RECORDING ACADEMY Chief Industry, Government, & Member Relations Officer DARYL P. FRIEDMAN. “The legislation is about consent for use of content, a basic concept that the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS is seeking for its own television members. We thank Senator BLACKBURN and Representative NADLER for their leadership on this issue, and ask members of CONGRESS who recognize the importance of intellectual property to join them and pass this legislation.”

“Music is essential to the radio business, but for far too long, AM/FM radio broadcasters have profited by using sound recordings without paying anything to their creators,” said RIAA Chairman/CEO MITCH GLAZIER. “This bill puts the power of free markets to work to reverse that. Requiring terrestrial radio broadcasters to obtain permission to use music would allow creators to seek compensation for their work and remedy a longstanding inequity in copyright law. We are grateful to Senator BLACKBURN for her leadership towards a fairer music economy for everyone.”

“The AM-FM Act ensures that the people who make the music have a protected property right in their own work by requiring broadcasters to get permission before they transmit recordings over the air,” said SOUNDEXCHANGE CEO MICHAEL J. HUPPE. “It sets the table for meaningful marketplace negotiations and ends the current market distortion in our laws that forces artists to subsidize the multi-billion-dollar FM radio broadcast industry. I applaud Senator BLACKBURN and Chairman NADLER for their continued commitment to ending this egregious inequity for American music creators.”

“Songwriters and music publishers support the AM-FM Act because music has value, and creators should be able to decide what is best with their intellectual property,” said NATIONAL MUSIC PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION President & CEO DAVID ISRAELITE. “For too long broadcasters have benefitted from the lack of a sound recording performance right, as well as antiquated consent decrees that allow them to pay songwriters less than fair market value. We thank Senator BLACKBURN and Rep. NADLER for their leadership on this issue and for standing up for creators.”

The opposing view came from NAB President and CEO GORDON SMITH, who said, “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. We’re pleased that a bipartisan group of 201 House members and 25 U.S. Senators recognize this potential harm and have cosponsored the Local Radio Freedom Act, a resolution opposing any new performance fee on local radio. NAB’s door remains open to work with the record labels to find a holistic solution to this issue that reflects the enduring value to artists and labels of local radio to our hundreds of millions of terrestrial and digital listeners. Unfortunately, the record labels have shown little interest in having those discussions.”

Credit: All

Thanks to contributor Gary “Shannon” Burleigh for forwarding this article to QZVX

Author: Steven Smith

Presently editor and historical writer with QZVX.COM in Seattle. Former radio broadcaster and radio station owner, 1970-1999. Journalism and speech communications degrees. I enjoy researching articles and online reporting that allows me to meld together words, audio and video. P.S. I appreciate and encourage reader comments and opinions. View other articles by Steven Smith

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