Music Business

House Committee approves bill requiring radio to pay performer royalty

The US House Judiciary Committee has approved The American Music Fairness Act, which would require radio stations to pay performance royalties. All other major countries already require over-the-air broadcasters to pay the performer of the song in addition to its songwriters.

The bill must still pass the full House and the Senate and be signed by the president to become law.

The bipartisan bill would mean that performers, producers, and musicians involved in creating songs will join songwriters in receiving royalties when their music is played on U.S. radio stations. Online broadcasters and SiriusXM already pay performance royalties in the US via SoundExchange.

“This is a momentous day for so many artists and music creators across this country,” said former Congressman Joe Crowley, Chairman of the musicFIRST Coalition, who helped lead the fight for the legislation. “To be clear, this fight is far from over. We still have further to go before this important bill can be passed into law and improve the lives of artists across this country, and we know that Big Radio corporations will continue to oppose us every step of the way. 

The bill has also been endorsed by the RIAA, AFL-CIO, A2IM., the American Federation of Musicians, SAG-AFTRA, and SoundExchange.

“For decades, broadcast corporations have made hundreds of billions of dollars while denying creators royalties for music played on AM/FM radio stations,” said Michael Huppe, the president-CEO of SoundExchange. That’s fundamentally wrong. Everyone knows that, including the broadcasters.”

Bruce Houghton is the Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank, a Senior Advisor at Bandsintown, President of the Skyline Artists Agency, and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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