Should Terrestrial Radio Pay Performers?

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What ever happened to the ‘Fair Play, Fair Pay’ Act?

In almost every country, performers get paid when their songs are played on terrestrial radio — but not in the United States. Many artists and industry professionals believe that musicians deserve to be compensated fairly for airplay, and last year, Representative Jerrold Nadler introduced the ‘Fair Play, Fair Act’ (H.R. 1733) into US Congress.

The bill would create a level playing field for radio, applying the same rules to terrestrial radio that Internet radio falls under while protecting small, local stations.  At its core, the bill would ensure that creators get paid for their work.

The Fair Play, Fair Pay Act was made and designed to both create and establish a level performance royalty for all artists across different listening platforms.  So, if an artist has a recorded song played on AM/FM Radio, satellite radio, or through a music streaming service online, they’d get paid the same.

In continuing with our partnership with Kill Rock Stars, Portia Sabin talks directly to the Congressman who introduced the bill, how it was made, and why it was made.  She starts off the episode with a delicious red or green apple analogy, and asks what exactly would happen if we all decided that they were made free?

What about the people who plant and grow apples?  Do they get paid?

Sabin then goes on to say that this may be exactly what’s going on in the streaming, radio, and satellite streaming world.  Do artists get paid well?  She then goes straight over to Ted Kalo of musicFIRST to talk about the (then) likelihood of the bill passing.  Valerie Day from the band Nu Shooz also finishes up the hour speaking personally about how much she’s made from 30 years of U.S. radio play.

As we know now, the bill was first introduced back in April of 2015, but was then referred to the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet by the House Judiciary.  The bill was eventually taken into what’s known as “Committee Consideration.”

Now, while this episode was recorded around the discussions of the bill last year, it’s still a goodie and very relevant today.  You can go right ahead and check out the episode at the bottom.


9 Responses

  1. Remi Swierczek

    YES, absolutely, technology allows us to convert Radio (more than 100,000 stations globally) and few nerdy streamers to PRIMITIVE DISCOVERY BASED MUSIC STORES.

    No need for subs or ads – $100B music industry by 2020 just from Radio and streaming by 2020. That would be just first bold step toward 200 to $300B music business.

    Larry Page must be in the loop or UMG music suicide will go on!

  2. Jmanforever

    No, the artists should NOT be paid for radio play. ..and they should not get anything from streaming play either. The music COMPOSER already gets paid. MOST artists ARE getting paid, since they perform their own songs. If artists need more money, they should first stop signing unfair deals with shady record companies, and quit recording cover versions of other people’s songs. Artists should make the majority of their income from touring, and selling merch. No tour? No money! Radio play is free advertising for their shows. …and they DO NOT deserve to get paid for life for a song they recorded back in 1967. Are you still getting paid for a few hours worth of contract-work you did 40 years ago? Anything over 25 years old should go into public domain. Fix public domain laws, then we can talk about increased royalties. Until then, musicians need to quit whining, and play something. …or flip burgers.

  3. Bill

    How does making radio stations who are backed by publicly traded money pay for royalties fair to digital radio operators? All this does is legitimizes the extortion placed upon digital broadcasters. What would be fair is if there were to be a royalty freeze imposed so that the RIAA would stop jacking the rates year after year, or here is an idea allow competing music licensing entities into the market place so that the prices that is paid stays constant.

  4. Anonymous

    Maybe. But either way it is a waste of time and money trying to get additional revenue from an already declining industry. This is not worth the effort except to maybe the top .1%. The vast majority of artists don’t even receive radio play.

  5. Bobo

    Yes, make them pay. The legal distinction between Internet based radio stations and terrestial is ludicrous! Level the field for providers all of content.

  6. phil

    Radio revenue would only support the already high-life of the top 1% of artists. (Did you see Chris Brown’s mansion?). Perhaps royalties could be distributed to trusts for music schools and such.

  7. Shaun

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