Fair Play Fair Pay Act gets two new co-sponsors

The Fair Play Fair Pay Act has two new co-sponsors. This bill introduces payments to performers for airplay on terrestrial radio. AM/FM radio is regulated differently in the U.S. from other countries: radio does not make payments to labels and performers, though it does pay royalties to songwriters, publishers, and composers. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) have joined as co-sponsors of the current bill, which has been spearheaded by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).

“Congress has a historic opportunity to modernize the U.S. copyright system by enacting the ‘Fair Play Fair Pay Act’ and their support shows growing bipartisan momentum behind reform,” industry group musicFIRST said in a statement. “With digital and streaming services on the rise in popularity, the radio industry needs to adapt to the new market realities and continue to grow alongside them. By clinging on to an antiquated and unfair model – and failing to pay for the music that powers its frequencies – the radio industry is bound to be left behind.”

The Fair Play Fair Pay Act has been in process for many months. There have been multiple efforts by musicians and performers to implement performance royalties for radio airplay over the years, but the broadcast industry has largely criticized their efforts as creating too big a financial burden. As it stands, the Fair Play Fair Pay Act does have provisions for smaller and non-commercial stations, but this question of when and who radio pays for their work is likely to remain contentious.

Anna Washenko