Artists, Legislators Announce Introduction of RESPECT Act

Artists, Legislators Announce Introduction of RESPECT Act

Last Week on Capitol Hill, pioneering artists and legislators introduced groundbreaking legislation aimed at stemming the tide of losses for so-called “pre-1972” performances. This legislation, deemed the “RESPECT Act,” would require digital radio providers to pay royalties to recording artists and record labels that are being left out in the cold for their pre-1972 songs. In conjunction, SoundExchange launched Project72 to put a spotlight on the fact that the biggest digital radio providers in the world are not paying royalties to musicians who recorded music before February 15, 1972. RESPECT Act has garnered support from industry heads and musicians alike.

“It is really a simple issue of fairness and equity,” said Representative George Holding (R-NC), cosponsor of the RESPECT Act. SoundExchange was proud to bring these people together in the name of fair play and rightful compensation for all artists.

The event to introduce the bill and campaign was attended by many supporters, including Martha Reeves , Richie Furay (of Buffalo Springfield and Poco), Mark Farner (of Grand Funk Railroad), Karla Redding-Andrews and Jarrod Redding (Otis Redding’s daughter and grandson), Roger McGuinn (of The Byrds), Gene Chandler (“The Duke of Earl”) and Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave). Reeves, Furay, Farner and McGuinn even stirred the crowd with song, marking the occasion with yet another iconic performance.

SoundExchange Pre-72 Event Group Photo Final

“The deliberate refusal of digital radio to compensate artists with recordings made before 1972 is an injustice. I have been fortunate enough in my career to have recorded some songs after February, 1972, and know first-hand the value and the life changing impact those payments mean to myself and my post 72 peers. I will continue to raise my voice — the same voice that I used when recorded the award-winning “Soul Man” in 1967 — to ask that digital radio support that all artists get paid for airplay, whether their songs were recorded before or after February, 1972. It’s only fair that all artists are compensated for their work, regardless of the date of the recording or the delivery platform,” said Sam Moore.

The bill’s sponsors, Representatives George Holding (R-NC) and John Conyers (D-MI) stood up to be counted among those outraged by the lack of compensation that these artists have worked so tirelessly to earn.

“It is very, very important that we remember those folks who did so much for us,” said Rep. John Conyers.

“We applaud Representatives Holding and Conyers for taking this step toward righting a wrong being done to pre-1972 artists whose music has inspired all of us. The RESPECT Act rightfully requires digital radio to treat all sound recordings equally, regardless of the date they were made,” said Michael Huppe, SoundExchange president and CEO. “It’s time we show respect for the legends of Motown, Jazz and Blues, and those who gave birth to Rock n’ Roll. Their work is still a massive force on radio and is the foundation of the music we listen to today.”

More than 70 artists also joined together to sign a petition urging digital radio services to pay for all the music they play. Since launch, the number of supporters has grown to include The Doors, Ramones and more iconic artists. This level of support shows just how many artists are still being exploited by these services – and they need our help. Check out more info on project-72.org, and write your representatives to keep this momentum going!