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Musicians Join Members of Congress in Demanding Fair Pay for Air Play

The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) joined with other members of the music community today in support of new federal legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) that will ensure musicians are compensated fairly when their work is played across all radio platforms.

Reps. Nadler and Blackburn introduced the “Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015” to close a loophole that permits AM/FM radio to play music without paying musicians, singers and featured artists. Currently, songwriters are paid royalties when their music is played on the radio, while performers are not. Other platforms, such as Internet, cable and satellite radio, pay performers, but AM/FM radio currently gets special treatment. This bipartisan legislation would level the playing field and help guarantee musicians receive fair pay when their work is played—regardless of the technology used.

Professional musicians should be adequately compensated for the joy we bring to the world,” said AFM International President Ray Hair, who has been a professional musician for over 40 years. “The United States is the only Western nation denying terrestrial radio performance rights to musicians, who are struggling in today’s economy. Not only is this shameful, it is costing hard-working musicians millions of dollars.”

Hair also explained that U.S. musicians and artists are also losing millions annually because other countries that do collect performance royalties are not paying U.S. musicians, because the United States does not reciprocate to non-U.S. artists.

I want to thank Representatives Nadler and Blakburn for their leadership in ensuring that U.S. musicians are rightfully paid for their work,” said Hair.

The legislation would also require digital and terrestrial radio to pay pre-1972 performers, musicians, and artists for playing their music.