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Front of the Capitol building

Reps. Issa, Deutch Introduce Bill to Ensure Artists Receive Fair Pay for FM/AM Radio Airplay

June 24, 2021

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced the bipartisan American Music Fairness Act to ensure that artists and music creators are paid when their songs are played on FM/AM radio.
Earlier, Reps. Issa and Deutch Issa introduced the legislation at a press event at the U.S. Capitol and were joined by legendary recording artists Dionne Warwick, Sam Moore, Ken Casey, as well as working musicians to mark the occasion.
“Every musical artist who first picked up a drumstick, sang in front of a mirror or wrote a lyric from the heart did so because they were inspired to create and share. While that is their gift to us, ultimately, they are the true owners, and we need to protect their rights,” said Rep. Issa.
“Since the global pandemic shuttered live venues and closed recording studios, music makers have struggled almost as never before. But corporate broadcasters have continued to profit from the artists and musicians whose performances make all of it possible. It’s time for all of them to receive compensation for their hard work and timeless art. I’m proud to join with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and introduce the American Music Fairness Act.”
“The status quo is unfair to artists. Across America, recording artists and music creators are working to build a good life for themselves and their families by playing the music they love, but the rules are rigged against them,” said Rep Deutch. “For far too long, our broken system has let FM/AM radio stations get away with refusing to pay artists when they play their music. It’s time to right this wrong, because paying people for their hard work is the fair thing to do. This bipartisan bill will require that corporate broadcasters fairly compensate recording artists and music creators when they play their songs on FM/AM radio.”
For decades, American terrestrial radio stations have not been required to compensate performers when they play their music — making the United States one of the only developed countries in the world with these outdated laws. The American Music Fairness Act would close this loophole and require broadcasters to pay artists when they use their work.
The legislation includes a specific exemption for small radio stations that make less than $1.5 million per year, requiring them to pay only a nominal annual fee to play as much music from as many artists as they want while large corporate broadcasters would pay full freight.
The bill was cosponsored by Congressmen Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Tom McClintock, (R-CA), as well as Congresswomen Karen Bass (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), and Diana Harshbarger (R-TN).
The American Music Fairness Act would level the playing field for artists and music creators by:
·     requiring terrestrial radio stations to compensate all artists for their property.
·     creating a fair market value for music performance royalties by closing the loophole that allows AM/FM radio stations to play music without compensating artists.
·     exempting radio stations that fall under $1.5 million in annual revenue and whose parent companies fall under less than $10 million in annual revenue overall. For less than $2 per day ($500 annually), small and local stations can play unlimited music.
·     ensuring that foreign countries pay U.S. artists when their songs are played overseas.
The American Music Fairness Act is endorsed by the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), the American Federation of Musicians, the Recording Academy, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), SAG-AFTRA and SoundExchange.
Darrell Issa is the Representative of California’s 50th Congressional District. The District encompasses the central and northeastern parts of San Diego County and a portion of Riverside County, including the communities of Fallbrook, San Marcos, Valley Center, Ramona, Escondido, Santee, Lakeside, El Cajon, Temecula, and the mountain and desert areas of the San Diego-Imperial County line. Issa served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from 2011-2015.