ADVOCACY FOR CREATORS
MUSIC CREATORS DESERVE TO BE PAID FOR THEIR WORK.
At SoundExchange’s core is a principle: music creators deserve to be paid for their work. That principle is reflected not only in the company’s products and services that make it easier for creators to get paid, but also in its advocacy work before Congress, the White House, the European Union, and the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board; in court; and everywhere else the future of music is debated.
More than half a million music creators rely on SoundExchange to be their respected voice among the lawmakers, policymakers, and judges that shape and govern the business of music.
SoundExchange has earned global respect for its impact on the modernization of the business side of the music industry and for its work to correct outdated and flawed statutes that continue to deprive creators of due pay. SoundExchange also understands that music fairness knows no borders, which is why the company takes a global approach to advocacy with the goal of ensuring that the voice of every creator is heard.
U.S. Terrestrial Radio Performance Rights
Fairness starts with respect. Music creators deserve the respect of being paid fully and fairly wherever their music is played. SoundExchange is a driving force within the musicFIRST Coalition, which is leading advocacy efforts before Congress in favor of ending a decades-old injustice: the failure of broadcast corporations to pay a performance royalty to creators when their music is played on AM/FM radio. This injustice has denied hundreds of thousands of working-class Americans the respect of being paid for their work. While digital service providers pay sound recording performance royalties, broadcast corporations continue to fight efforts to do so, despite making billions of advertising dollars from the music.
The SoundExchange team works closely with congressional allies that are fighting for passage of the American Music Fairness Act (AMFA), common-sense legislation that addresses critical fair pay for creators as well as protections for smaller scale and independent local broadcasters.
Key highlights of the legislation include:
- Treating competing music platforms the same. AM/FM stations are the only media outlets that do not compensate artists for their music. Terrestrial radio stations would have to compensate artists for their music, just like streaming services, satellite radio, and other platforms that profit off of copyrighted content.
- Looking out for small, local broadcasters. Stations that fall under $1.5 million in annual revenue and whose parent companies make less than $10 million in annual revenue overall would be asked to pay less than $2 per day ($500 annually) for the right to play unlimited music. Qualified public, college, and other noncommercial stations would pay $10 a year.
- Protecting songwriters and publishers. The bill ensures that there will be no harmful impact on the public performance rights and royalties payable to songwriters, musical work copyright owners, and publishers.
learn more about the movement to pass the American Music Fairness Act and bring justice to creators.
For a deeper dive into the issue of terrestrial radio performance rights.
Discrimination Against U.S. Artists When Their Music is Played Abroad
Music fairness knows no borders, and that is why SoundExchange is spearheading a global initiative to end pay discrimination faced by American music creators abroad. Instead of paying all creators according to one set of laws, individual countries including the United Kingdom, France, and Japan, discriminate against foreign nationals by withholding royalty payments to creators whose countries of origin have different royalty and copyright laws.
This unfair treatment exists because these nations do not follow the principle of National Treatment, a legal principal in international trade that dictates a country apply the same laws to foreigners as to their own citizens. These discriminatory actions hit U.S. citizens especially hard, depriving them of roughly $300 million in royalties annually.
To learn more about the effort to end this discrimination, go to
For a deeper dive into the issue of national treatment.
SoundExchange advocates for music creators in court if we uncover that digital service providers did not pay their fair share of royalties for use of sound recordings. Through our enforcement work we routinely audit these services and when appropriate initiate litigation.
LEGAL ACTION TO PROTECT MUSIC CREATORS
SoundExchange has also advocated for music creators in court when it has uncovered that digital service providers did not pay their fair share of royalties for use of sound recordings.
A Voice for Music Creators
To amplify the voice of music creators, SoundExchange created Music Speaks, a political action committee that advocates for a healthier and fairer industry. Music Speaks is made up of voluntary contributions from registered members and employees, which are used to support candidates for federal office.
Under applicable law, the amounts that may be contributed to and by Music Speaks are limited, and the company is vigilant in efforts to ensure that contributions are strictly voluntary. If you are a SoundExchange member, you can email ([email protected]) or call (202-864-0923) for more information or to determine whether you’re eligible to participate in Music Speaks.
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