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Section 101 Blog

Fair Play, Fair Pay

Every so often, I blog about a client: BUSH, Jonatha Brooke, Pentatonix. All of our clients are special, but sometimes they’re involved in something I feel the need to comment on.

Our client, musicFIRST works tirelessly promoting the belief that every artist should get fair pay when their music is played on the radio. Along with valuing music, they value the creator. musicFIRST was recently featured in both Billboard and Politico after launching http://miccoalition.org, a daring parody website in response to the MIC Coalition. Sadly, MIC (music.innovation.consumersm) are the exact opposite of musicFIRST, working to make sure artists don’t get paid fairly for their work. MIC is committed to using their considerable lobbying power to reduce payments to artists and musicians. When artists are not paid equitably for their work via radio and digital royalties, it is in no small part due to the work of the MIC Coalition.

There are some irrefutable facts at play here:

  • Corporate Radio Stations make an average of over $15 billion dollars per year, but don’t pay a cent to the people who create the songs that they broadcast.
  • SiriusXM benefits from an unfair government-mandated below market royalty rate for the music that it plays. 
  • Some digital services exploit a loophole to avoid paying anything at all for any music recorded before 1972.  Interestingly, Sirius XM settled a lawsuit in June with record labels, who went to court so their heritage artists would be paid.

Musicians such as Elton John, Common, T Bone Burnett, REM, Chuck D, Sheila E., Annie Lennox, Elvis Costello, Roseanne Cash, Imogen Heap, tUnE-yArDs and more have gotten behind the Fair Play Fair Pay act that musicFIRST introduced to congress last year. Under this bill, all commercial radio services would pay fair market value for the music they play, with all forms of radio held to the same standard, while offering protection to small, educational or non-commercial broadcasters, bars & restaurants. Learn more (and support) Fair Play Fair Pay act: http://www.musicfirstcoalition.org/take_action

Clearly, I’m really passionate about this topic or I wouldn’t be writing about it. The solution seems pretty simple; radio (all forms) should pay fair market value for the music they profit off of. Like everyone else who works, creates or innovates, artists and music creators deserve fair pay for their work.

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