House Judiciary Committee Approves the American Music Fairness Act

American Music Fairness Act
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American Music Fairness Act
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Photo Credit: Sam Moghadam Khamseh

A bill to force radio stations to pay royalties for the music it plays winds closer to becoming law. The House Judiciary Committee has voted to advance the American Music Fairness Act.

“Imagine a profession in which you put in countless hours to create a product that is appreciated by millions of people, but while major companies can generate significant profits distributing your product, those companies pay you absolutely nothing for your efforts,” reads Chairman Jerry Nadler’s opening statement.

“This may seem unthinkable, but it is the reality for American recording artists and musicians when their music is played on AM/FM radio. They do not receive a penny in exchange for the broadcast of their performances, even though the large broadcasting corporations playing their music take in billions of dollars a year in advertising,” he continues.

“This unfairness exists because our copyright laws recognize a public performance right only in digital audio transmissions rather than in all audio transmissions. Thus, while other music platforms like satellite radio and digital streaming services do pay artists and musicians when they play music, AM/FM–or terrestrial radio–is allowed to use and to profit off the performances of these artists for free.”

The American Music Fairness Act seeks to rectify this loophole by expanding public performance rights for artists to include terrestrial radio stations.

Across the industry, the move to advance the bill was applauded. “this is a momentous day for so many artists and music creators across this country,” adds Congressman Joe Crowley, Chairman of the musicFIRST Coalition.

“The House Judiciary Committee’s vote in favor of the American Music Fairness Act doesn’t just advance an important piece of legislation. It also sends a powerful message to artists everywhere that they are respected, that their work has value, and that their commitment to making the soundtrack of our lives is appreciated.”

“Today’s passage of the American Music Fairness Act through the House Judiciary Committee marks an important step for this critical piece of legislation, and I am grateful to Chairman Nadler, Rep. Issa, and members of the committee for supporting the music community’s right to fair pay,” adds Harvey Mason Jr., Recording Academy CEO.

“It is vital to the health of our industry that creators are compensated for the use of their intellectual property on terrestrial radio, and the Recording Academy will continue to advocate for AMFA until this bill is signed into law.”