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Congress Introduces A Bill To Require Radio Stations To Pay Performance Royalties

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(CelebrityAccess) — A bi-partisan group of legislators announced the American Music Fairness Act, a bill that would seek to make sure that singers, songwriters, and performers receive performance royalties from radio play.

The new legislation announced Thursday in a press conference by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-California) and Ted Deutch (D-Florida) would require AM/FM radio broadcasters to pay performance royalties for music played on their stations, similar to what satellite radio and streaming services do.

“We all deserve to get paid for our work. Yet, recording artists don’t get paid when their songs are played on FM/AM radio. There is no possible way of saying that what we have now is fair to American artists. Rep. Darrell Issa and I have joined forces with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to bring fairness to the current system,” Congressman Deutch said in a statement announcing the legislation.

“This bill will protect the artists we know as they make the music we love. Under the American Music Fairness Act — for the first time, the artists would see a small piece of the massive profits made on the backs of their creative work. It’s time for Congress to tell musicians that we will end the unfair deal AM/FM radio has forced on them for decades,” Deutch added.

Following the announcement of the proposed legislation, the National Association of Broadcasters came out strongly against the bill.

“NAB strongly opposes the American Music Fairness Act or any imposition of a performance royalty on America’s local radio stations. For decades, broadcast radio has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the music industry, launching and sustaining the careers of countless artists, promoting album sales and streams, and helping to foster a robust music-creation environment that is the envy of the world.”

The proposed legislation strikes a markedly different tone from the Local Radio Freedom Act introduced last month by Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) and backed by a bi-partisan group of legislators that included 138 Representatives and 18 Senators.

The non-binding resolution declared that Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charges that create economic hardships for locally owned radio stations.

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