For the Record: Support the Performance Rights Act

ralph-ipodThe Performance Rights Act will close an outdated provision of America’s copyright law that allows terrestrial AM and FM radio stations to earn $16 billion a year in advertising revenue without compensating the artists and musicians.

The Performance Rights Act brings the United States in line with almost every other nation in the world. Only a few countries do not provide a fair performance right on radio, including Iran, North Korea and China. And because the U.S. doesn’t have a performance right, foreign stations do not have to pay American artists when their music is played on stations around the globe — an inequity that costs American artists tens of millions of dollars each year.

Roy Elkins, founder of Broadjam, one of the largest online communities for indie musicians,  said that the key is finding a compensation model that rewards performers, without destabilizing the radio industry. “This is a good thing for performing artists and not a good thing for broadcasters,” said Elkins. “For years the actual performers of songs have been left out of mix, while the songwriters have been compensated and adjustments should be made.”

“Artists should be compensated for their performances at radio.”

AM and FM radio is the only music platform that does not pay a fair performance right to artists and musicians for the use of their work. Satellite, cable and internet radio compensate artists when they play their music. AM and FM radio however receives a free pass to broadcast the recordings of thousands of artists and musicians every day without paying them a penny.

“This issue is near and dear to me,” said Tim Westergren, Chief Strategy Officer & Founder of Pandora, “Before founding Pandora, I spent ten years as a working musician. I’ve always believed performers should get fairly compensated for the value they provide to radio so I really appreciate your help.” This is why Westergren emailed subscribers encouraging them to call their legislator to support the Bill.

Credits: Image courtesy of, origin unknown.

Stand By Me

A cover of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it traveled the globe. Stand by musicians. Support the performance Rights Act.

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