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Can Musicians Get Paid Fairly In The Age Of Streaming?

The United States Senate introduces the American Music Fairness Act

More than a year after the American Music Fairness Act (AMFA) made its debut in the House, the Senate has put its version into play.

Backed by musicFIRST, with the support of the three major record labels, the idea for the legislation is to "ensure music creators get fair pay for their work on all platforms and wherever and however it is played."

A major factor in making this work will come from musicFIRST setting its sights on terrestrial radio broadcasters to make sure they pay up on recorded royalties. Since the heyday of radio, AM and FM stations have only paid for the use of underlying compositions, not the recordings themselves.

This clearly isn't something that radio stations and broadcasting companies want to do. The National Association of Broadcasters would like lawmakers to not impose "any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charges" on local stations.


I've been discussing topics surrounding fair pay for musicians on social media lately as streaming services have recently made changes to their artist payment structures. The American Music Fairness Act is yet another step in the right direction.

The music industry has long been a status quo type of industry. The powers that be aren't all that enamored with change because the ball was always bouncing in their favor. The division of profits was always like those Bugs Bunny cartoons where Bugs would pay a counterpart like this:

"One for you, one, two for me. Two for you, one, two, three for me"...and the beat goes on.

So now that the industry is finally showing small signs (if just for optics only right now) of improvement, songwriters and creators need to band together and keep the pressure on so real change can one day take place.


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