Closing the AM/FM Radio Royalty Loophole
SoundExchange supports legislation to close the decades-old loophole that allows AM/FM broadcasters to avoid paying royalties to recording artists and record labels when their recordings are played on the air. SoundExchange and members of the musicFIRST coalition are fighting to end this injustice.
AM/FM broadcasters are the only form of radio today that doesn’t pay performers for their work. Digital radio sits alongside terrestrial radio in cars, boats, and homes – yet those modern innovators pay for the music they use while AM/FM broadcasters pay nothing, even when their broadcasts are played through the same speakers to the same audience.
Instead, the reality is that AM/FM radio– terrestrial broadcast radio– uses music to draw an audience that in turn allows broadcasters to bring in $17B / year of revenue from advertising. While paying nothing for their primary product!
Adding to the injustice of the existing system is the fact that the impact of this unfair treatment doesn’t stop at the U.S. border. American music is by far the most popular music in the world. However, because U.S. radio broadcasters refuse to pay artists when they use their recordings on the air, American artists and record labels are denied the estimated $100M in performance royalties annually that would be paid to them in nearly every other nation. Instead, that income is left on the table overseas and never makes it back to the U.S. economy.