Industry Leaders Call for Equal Treatment of Music Creators When Their Music Is Played in Markets Around the World

Spectrum of Music Groups Come Out in Support of “National Treatment” So Music Creators Are Paid Direct Royalties Fairly and Equally

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September, 15, 2020 – The movement to achieve global fairness for music creators gained ground today when a broad spectrum of organizations representing artists, musicians, and managers called for the end of the practice by some countries to refuse to pay creators for their work based solely on their nationality.

The organizations—Artist Rights Alliance, Black Music Action Coalition, Featured Artists Coalition, Independent Alliance for Artists Rights, International Federation of Musicians, International Music Manager’s Forum, Kobalt, Music Managers Forum UK, and Musicians’ Union—joined the Fair Trade of Music Campaign working to ensure that a global standard of direct royalty payments is established.

The Campaign launched in June with the support of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), American Federation of Musicians, Future of Music Coalition, Gospel Music Association, Music Artists Coalition, Music Business Association, musicFIRST, Music Managers Forum US, Recording Academy, SAG-AFTRA, and SoundExchange.

“These organizations are standing up for an important principle: music is an international experience, and if a royalty is paid for the use of a sound recording, then all music creators—no matter where they are from—are entitled to receive it,” said SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe. “The music community on both sides of the Atlantic is calling on our governments to ensure music creators are treated equally and paid fairly for their work.”

National treatment—the concept that a country should provide foreign entities the same benefits and protections as it would its own citizens—is a fundamental principle in how nations engage with one another. Just last week, the European Court of Justice ruled that European Union countries must treat music creators equally regardless of their nationality.

The ruling comes as the United States and United Kingdom undertake negotiations on a post-Brexit trade agreement. The Fair Trade of Music Campaign has called on negotiators to include national treatment in the trade agreement.

The absence of national treatment in the music business leads to absurdities. For example, if a band has members from both the United States and United Kingdom, only the UK artists get paid directly from the UK collective when their music is played on UK radio. This unequal treatment has created a global $330 million shortfall in royalty payments to US creators.

Industry leaders are adding their voices to the call for national treatment:

“Great music transcends nations and borders — and meets us all as individuals no matter where we live, play, or listen. It’s long past time that international norms catch up with that core principle of fairness, justice, and equality. It’s heartening to be joined by our UK counterparts, motivated solely by their devotion to the principle that all artists receive fair and equal pay for their work regardless of background, nationality, or style,” said Matthew Montfort, Co-Chair of the Artist Rights Alliance.

“The International Federation of Musicians is pleased to support this important campaign which is about treating musicians fairly. Wherever in the world your music is played, you should be paid. This fundamental principle should apply to all musicians whatever their nationality,” said John F Smith, President, International Federation of Musicians.
“The pandemic that has decimated the live music scene has thrown a spotlight on how important it is that musicians receive every last penny that they are due from the use of their recordings. We are delighted to support the Fair Trade of Music Campaign to help our colleagues in the US get the money they are due from UK public performance,” said Horace Trubridge at the Musicians’ Union.

“The world’s biggest cultural exchange is Artists and audiences sharing music across borders. In asking for national treatment for those artists we are asking for respect for all cultures. Representing artists in over 50 countries we know each of them has a value, no matter their home,” said Ana Rodriguez, cochair of the International Music Managers Forum.

To learn more about the Fair Trade of Music Campaign, and sign up, please go to