Music Fairness Awareness Month: A November-Long Campaign To Spread Awareness Of Radio Royalty Fairness
It's no secret that Recording Academy Advocacy spreads awareness of injustices in how music creators are compensated on AM/FM airwaves. But did you know there's now a month dedicated to that very issue?
November 2021 marks the debut of Music Fairness Awareness Month, an effort by musicFIRST and music creators to bring attention to the unjust laws that allow artists to go unpaid when their music is played on traditional radio. The top of the month marked the 101st anniversary of the first commercial radio broadcast.
Throughout November, artists and music creators will elevate the issue and advocate for musicians to receive fair compensation for their work.
Specifically, they'll focus on advancing the American Music Fairness Act (AMFA), a bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that ends a decades-long loophole that has enabled AM/FM radio broadcasters to use the music of hard-working performers and producers without compensating them for their work.
When considering this cause, it's sobering to note that in 2019, radio broadcasters made over $10 billion by selling ad revenue. Yet artists did not receive any payments for their work — the music these broadcasters are playing-- allowing the large billion-dollar conglomerates to profit off of the work of artists for nothing in return.
The United States is one of the only countries that does not pay artists for their music being played on AM/FM radio (joining the likes of China, North Korea, and Iran). To make matters worse, this legal loophole precludes American artists from receiving royalty payments from other countries who do pay artists for radio play since US terrestrial radio does not pay their foreign artists.. Recent estimates calculate more than $200 million in lost royalties.
That's where the American Music Fairness Act comes in. It has provisions in place to pay artists and producers a fair market rate throughout the U.S. It allows American artists to collect royalties abroad. And it also protects small, local broadcasters to ensure that truly local radio is not impacted by its passage.
In short, music creators deserve to be paid for their work on all platforms — and passing AMFA would close the gap and ensure they are being compensated.
As Music Fairness Awareness Month continues, keep checking back at the Recording Academy's Advocacy page to witness this fight for fairness — on behalf of all music creators.