The Roots, Common, Dionne Warwick, Jack White, Elvis Costello, and More Ask Congress to Pass American Music Fairness Act

American Music Fairness Act
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American Music Fairness Act
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Photo Credit: musicFIRST

The Roots, Common, Dionne Warwick, Jack White, Elvis Costello, and 40+ artists ask Congress to pass the American Music Fairness Act.

musicFIRST, the voice for fairness and equity for music creators, has announced an additional 40+ artists, creators, and activists that have added their signatures to a recent joint letter to urge members of Congress to pass the American Music Fairness Act (AMFA) — bringing the total number of signees to over 100. The AMFA is a bipartisan legislation granting creators performance royalties for using their music on AM/FM radio.

The addition of the letter’s new signatures comes ahead of the House Judiciary Committee’s scheduled markup of the AMFA this Wednesday. The latest additions include several renowned artist-activists and lifelong advocates of fair pay for music creators, including Harry Belafonte, Common, The Roots, Dionne Warwick, Jack White, Elvis Costello, David Byrne, The Temptations, Nile Rodgers, They Might Be Giants, OK Go, Aimee Mann, The Stone Foxes, Suzanne Vega, and many more.

The original letter was signed by more than 60 prominent artists of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, including Kevin Bacon, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, HANSON, Peter Frampton, Jackson Browne, and more. The letter was sent to members of Congress on November 1 to mark the beginning of Music Fairness Awareness Month, an annual effort by musicians throughout November to bring attention to the decades-long injustice that denies artists fair pay for their work.

“For over 80 years, artists have been fighting for basic fair pay from Big Radio. This fight is far from new,” said Congressman Joe Crowley, Chairman of the musicFIRST Coalition.

“Many of the artists who have added their names to this joint letter know this all too well because they have been in this fight for decades now. We’re grateful to them for their tenacity and commitment to this important cause. We’re confident that the artist-driven momentum behind the American Music Fairness Act will finally bring about historic progress this year.”

The American Music Fairness Act was introduced in the House by Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) in June 2021. Last month, it received companion legislation in the Senate from Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Alex Padilla (D-CA). The legislation would require AM/FM radio stations whose gross annual revenue is more than $1.5 million — or stations owned by parent companies whose annual revenue tops $10 million — to pay the artists whose songs they play to fill their airtime. 

The AMFA includes broad exemptions and low annual flat fees for smaller local stations and public, college, and non-commercial broadcasters. It protects songwriters by ensuring that payments to artists do not come from their share of royalties.