Imagine you — and lots of other people — just went to see the new Star Wars movie. The theaters brought in hundreds of millions of dollars.
Now imagine that the theaters will pay a small portion of that money to the writer of the screenplay, but the studio that created the film, and the actors who brought the film to life receive NOTHING. The theaters keep the rest of the cash and live happily ever after.
That scenario sounds horrible, right? Thankfully, this isn’t the case with the film industry.
But it’s not far off from what happens in the world of terrestrial radio, where broadcasters (usually owned by giant media corporations) take in tons of advertising revenue, but only pay out a small royalty for the very musical content which drives their entire business.
Even worse, no portion of that revenue is shared with artists or labels. It is paid entirely to publishers and songwriters. So every time you turn on the radio and hear Jimi Hendrix’s classic, stunning guitar-wizardry in “All Along the Watchtower,” Bob Dylan gets paid. Hendrix (or his estate) earns ZERO in performance royalties.
Let’s address the problem of terrestrial radio royalty payments today!
Now of course writers and publishers SHOULD get paid for the broadcast of their compositions, but so too should the artists who performed those songs and the labels that funded the recording. Giant radio corporations can afford to pay them all.
That’s standard practice in every other developed country — and interestingly, it’s already the law in the USA regarding ONLINE radio plays. (For details on the Copyright Royalty Board’s recent decision to raise rates on non-interactive spins on services like Pandora and iHeartRadio, click HERE.)
Somehow (I’m looking at you, lobbyists), terrestrial radio gets to keep playing by outdated rules.
But at CD Baby we believe that if artists unite we can change the system in the USA to catch up with… everyone else. Our laws should echo what the rest of the world knew long ago: artists deserve payment for radio play!
Terrestrial radio stations should not be allowed to coast along according to unfair laws, making tons of cash by not paying for the very musical content that drives its business. We believe this strongly, and CD Baby will continue to advocate for the rights of independent songwriters AND artists.
If you’d like to lend your voice to this cause, please support the Fair Play Fair Pay act by signing this petition.
What are your thoughts on the royalty system for terrestrial radio plays? Let us know in the comments below.
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