The Quest for Royalties for the Use of Sound Recordings on AM/FM Radio: In Full Swing

Guest post by Owen J. Sloane (@osloane) and Rachel M. Stilwell (@rachelmstilwell)

As nearly two hundred artists, producers, engineers, and music professionals traveled to Washington DC for “GRAMMYs On The Hill” last week, now is a great time to review the status of an important and recurring issue facing recording artists. Artists and record labels, large and small, do not get compensated for the use of their recordings on AM/FM (“terrestrial”) radio. The recording industry would like to see a change in this area, so that working musicians (not just the superstars) can make a fair living making recordings that we as fans want to hear on our local radio stations. It costs money, time, as well as talent, to create great records.

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Strong Reactions To Radio Bill

October 1, 2013

Reactions continue to arrive to the introduction of North Carolina Democrat Rep. Mel Watt’s latest bill to require radio to pay a streaming performance royalty for airing copyright covered music. How much attention the measure will get in Congress is unclear, since committees related to communications and broadcasting have postponed their meetings originally slated for this week due to the government shutdown.

NAB EVP Communications Dennis Wharton says the trade group “respectfully” opposes the “Free Market Royalty Act,” and appreciates the support of 183 lawmakers who back the “Local Radio Freedom Act,” a nonbinding resolution opposing a new performance royalty for radio. read more

Radio stations would pay for music under House bill

October 1, 2013

Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) introduced a bill Monday that would require radio broadcasters to negotiate with musicians for the rights to play their songs. Watt’s bill – which he called the free market solution – was applauded by members of the music industry and decried by broadcasters. 


Watt’s bill would put the U.S. on a level playing field with the rest of the world, according to Casey Rae, interim executive director of the Future of Music coalition, a musician advocacy group.

Because the U.S. does not have a performance royalty right for musicians when their songs are played on radio stations, “American artists are currently unable to collect royalties owed to them when their music is played abroad,” he said. read more

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