Broadcasting, recorded music
Elton John, REM, Chuck D, Annie Lennox and Imogen Heap were amongst artistes who took to the social networks last week to express their support for the Fair Play Fair Pay Act which introduce a general performing right within the sound recording copyright in the US. Currently sound recording copyright owners in America have a performing right for digital, meaning that while satellite and online radio services do pay to use recorded music, clubs, public spaces and AM/FM radio do not. This means US artists and labels are deprived a revenue stream enjoyed by their counterparts in more or less every other country in the world (collected in the UK by PPL). It is also thought that the Act would contain an ‘performer equitable remuneration’ on performing rights income, meaning 50% of revenue is shared with featured artists and session musicians (45% to featured artists, 5% session musicians and vocalists) and 50% to copyright owners, oblivious of their label contracts via Sound Exchange. The Act is being resisted by broadcasters.
musicFIRST Executive Director, Ted Kalo, told reporters: “This movement is built on a simple principle that grabs the imagination of everyone we touch – fair play for all music on all platforms. The basic justice and fairness of this demand explains why so many are moved to speak out. The fact that the United States has aligned its system for compensating artists with regimes like Iran and North Korea is shameful. It is destructive to the future of American music and threatens the art of a new generation of artists” and Kalo added: “Some of the musicians supporting this bill are from countries where radio already pays a performance right and radio is still alive and well in those countries – contradicting the ‘sky is falling’ claims of big corporate radio in the United States. America’s failure to recognise AM/FM performance rights costs our artists dearly. They receive nothing for US airplay, so the royalties they earn overseas are withheld because the United States refuses to reciprocate – over $100 million owed to US artists is stranded overseas as a result”.