@TheBlakeMorgan Interview on the American Music Fairness Act Launch and #IRespectMusic–MusicTechPolicy

[This post first appeared on MusicTechPolicy. Read the American Music Fairness Act here.]

Blake Morgan helped to launch the American Music Fairness Act on June 24 in Washington along with Dionne Warwick, Sam Moore, a host of other artists and the bill’s sponsors Rep. Ted Deutch and Rep. Darrell Issa. We asked Blake about his impressions.

Rep. Ted Deutch and Blake Morgan at the AMFA launch

Chris Castle: I see you were back in Washington supporting new legislation to create a performance right for artists on terrestrial radio, how did that feel? Getting the band back together?

Blake Morgan: You know, it felt great. There’s a new spirit in the air, a new energy to this fight. Everyone at the launch event could feel it. It was aspirational. How can one not feel that way for something called the American Music Fairness Act?

Janita, Rep. Ted Deutch, Blake Morgan, Tommy Merrill

Any particular insights from the event?

Perhaps the one at the top of the list is that everyone was so happy––to see each other, to band together, to renew our vows to each other so to speak. To recommit ourselves in a new way to securing fair payment for artists on terrestrial radio. It was emotional. The fight for justice always is, and let’s make no mistake: this is a fight for basic fairness and justice. There’s an unmistakable excitement about the new bill, and our job––together––is to turn that excitement into volition, then into momentum, and finally into victory.

There was a quote in the recent Supreme Court ruling against the NCAA that jumped out at me: “Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate.” That’s not exactly analogous to broadcast radio, but it’s close, don’t you think?

Absolutely. Nothing could be more American than being paid fairly for one’s work. Nothing should be more American than being paid for one’s work. When it comes to music, where else in the American economy are working people told they won’t be paid for their work because instead, they’re going to receive “exposure.” That’s what AM/FM radio does. What’s more, broadcast radio can take our music without our permission, broadcast it, sell advertising around it, profit from it, and not pay the artists anything for it! As Sam Moore said at the bill’s launch event at The Capitol, “Pay us! Be nice!”

You were an active supporter of the CLASSICS Act that required pre-72 recordings be given equal treatment on digital performances. I was pleased that Rep. Deutch and Rep. Issa invited several generations of artists to the American Music Fairness Act event, will the pre-72 artists also be protected by AMFA?

Definitely, that’s such an important part of what this bill does. My godmother was Lesley Gore, the iconic 60’s hitmaker who sang the classics “It’s My Party” and “You Don’t Own Me,” among others. She died in 2015, after having never been paid one damn dime for those hits being played on AM or FM radio. AMFA may be too late for her, but I’m committed to making sure we get this passed in time for other iconic hitmakers and legends who have helped weave the very fabric of this country with their music. Who could possibly look any of those artists in the eye and tell them they shouldn’t be paid fairly. For shame.

What can the #irespectmusic community do to support the legislation?

We can do what we do best––bring music makers and music lovers together, tell people to stop wringing their hands and start rolling up their sleeves, and get active in supporting AMFA. We’re going to set up mechanisms in the coming weeks to make our voices heard with congressional members, with broadcasters (an increasing amount of which support this legislation, in fact), and with those who haven’t yet joined the push. We’re going to work hard, we’re going to work smart, and we’re going to pull ourselves closer and closer to victory with this in mind: it always seems impossible until it’s done.

IRMAIV Large

Press Release: @RepTedDeutch and @RepDarrellIssa to Host Press Event to Introduce American Music Fairness Act #irespectmusic

[Editor Charlie sez: Our great allies Ted Deutch and Darrell Issa are introducing a law to guarantee the key object of the #IRespectMusic campaign–artist pay for radio play!]

Reps. Deutch and Issa will be joined by legendary artists Dionne Warwick, Sam Moore, and others to introduce legislation to ensure music creators are fairly compensated when their songs are played on AM/FM radio

(Washington) On Thursday, June 24 at 1:15 pm ET, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) are hosting a national press event alongside artist-advocates like Dionne Warwick and Sam Moore to introduce the American Music Fairness Act.
 
Members of the press can register here. This event will be live-streamed here.
 
After COVID-19 disrupted artists’ financial stability, it is more important than ever that legislation is passed to ensure music creators are compensated when their music plays on FM/AM radio stations. The American Music Fairness Act will require that performing artists are paid for the use of their songs on FM/AM radio — just like they already do on digital streaming services.
 
This bipartisan bill is a response to the Local Radio Freedom Act championed by the National Association of Broadcasters.
 
WHAT: A national press event announcing the American Music Fairness Act
 
WHO:
·     Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL)
·     Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
·     Dionne Warwick
·     Sam Moore
·     Additional artist-advocates
 
WHEN: Thursday, June 24, 1:15pm ET
 
WHERE: House Triangle, United States Capitol, Washington, DC

IRMAIV Large

@ColinRushing of @SoundExchange: Congress Should Eliminate the Market Distortion of AM/FM Radio’s Free Ride on the Backs of Artists

[SoundExchange Chief Legal Officer Colin Rushing lays it down before Senate Judiciary]

Throughout the 80 years that the terrestrial radio performance right has been under discussion, broadcasters have argued in many ways that they are special and deserve different treatment than other business interests. Their arguments that their special status should result in them not paying performers– never valid – have now also been overtaken by events.

They say AM/FM radio is important because it is free, but they are no different than any other free ad-supported music platform available to consumers. They argue that providing public service announcements and news information is a reason to require music to subsidize their platform, and yet many music platforms provide these same services, not to mention that most digital music platforms are delivered over devices that provide local emergency notifications.

To the extent that AM/FM radio may be promotional, this is not a trait that sets them apart from other music services that compensate performers. Nor does it justify an uncompensated “taking” of musicians’ property. Rate-setting proceedings and licensing negotiations take promotional value into account as a matter of course, along with many other variables.

The potential for promotion exists in a lot of licensing arrangements. Television broadcast of a professional basketball game may promote a local team, but no one would suggest that the NBA should surrender the broadcast rights for free because of that “promotional value.” Why should music be any different?

Read his written testimony on the SoundExchange website.

@mikehuppe: Broadcast Radio Makes an Ironic Plea for Fairness — Artist Rights Watch

SoundExchange’s CEO says it’s time radio starts paying all music creators fairly for their work.

On Monday, a group of radio broadcasters penned a letter in support of the National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) push for deregulation of the $14 billion radio industry. Their letter was based on the NAB’s petition to the FCC this past June, in which the NAB sought to allow expanded broadcaster ownership of radio stations (i.e., increased consolidation) throughout the country. The NAB’s justification: broadcasters must adjust their business model to the realities of the new streaming world.

As a representative of the many creative parties who help craft music, we are frequently on the opposite side of issues from the NAB. And while I can’t comment on NAB’s specific requests, I was delighted to find so much common ground in their FCC filing in June….

I agree with the NAB that the law should “finally adopt rules reflecting competitive reality in today’s audio marketplace” and should “level the playing field” for all entities in the music economy.

If radio truly wants to modernize, it can start by taking a giant leap into the 21st century and paying all music creators fairly for their work. Stop treating artists like 17th century indentured servants, just so radio can reap bigger profits. If radio wants to have rules that reflect the music industry of today, then that should apply across the board.

We should resolve this gaping unfairness to artists before we begin talking about allowing radio to consolidate even further.

 

Read the post on Billboard

h/t Artist Rights Watch