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AM-FM Act Introduced With Hopes To Finally Pay Performers For Radio Play

The bipartisan and bicameral bill seeks to empower music creators and take a stand against broadcasters using music without permission or compensation

Advocacy/Nov 22, 2019 - 05:15 am

For as long as American radio has existed, performers of the music broadcasted across the terrestrial AM/FM airwaves coast-to-coast have not been compensated for their hard work. But thanks to a new bill introduced today, this long-time wrong might finally be made right.

The “Ask Musicians For Music (AM-FM) Act” was introduced this week by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in the Senate and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in the House. . Coming less than two months after nearly 2,000 Recording Academy members advocated for a terrestrial performance right during District Advocate day, the bill would empower music creators to grant permission and seek payment, with a focus on the large broadcasters who have subsidized their business by using music at will and without paying the hard-working performers.

“When music creators share their wonderful gift with the world, we hear songs that inspire and unite us. We should encourage such thriving talent and ensure the music community is properly compensated for their work,” said Senator Blackburn. “The AM-FM Act will reward singers, songwriters and musicians for their hard work when their music is played on the radio.”

On Nov. 21, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), a staunch supporter of music creators rights, introduced and withdrew an amendment similar to the AM-FM Act during the Judiciary Committee’s markups in the House of Representatives. The amendment was proposed during the committee’s debate over the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), which allows satellite companies to license and transmit broadcasters' content to underserved markets via a compulsory license.

Rep. Deutch made the strong point that creators deserve the same right these broadcasters enjoy to control and be paid for the work they create.

"For too long, AM/FM radio has retained the right to play songs without paying the performers," said Rep. Deutch. "FM radio is the largest music service in the world, hands down. Two hundred plus million listeners, $17 billion in annual revenue, most of which is generated by advertising sold against an audience drawn to those stations by music."

Rep. Deutch also pointed out that the current system discourages small and medium size radio stations from making the leap to digital platforms, which leads to consolidation and decreased diversification on radio.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Take a look at how <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/music?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#music</a> unions and the musicians who belong to them would benefit from finally getting the AM/FM performance right they deserve.<a href="https://t.co/XC73SInAd2">https://t.co/XC73SInAd2</a></p>&mdash; GRAMMY Advocacy (@GRAMMYAdvocacy) <a href="https://twitter.com/GRAMMYAdvocacy/status/1167852299772973056?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 31, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The setting of today’s STELA mark-up was quite appropriate, as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have a long-standing hypocritical stance on the issue of compensation for creative work. The NAB are advocating for STELA to expire and sunset, essentially empowering broadcasters to gain more control over permission and compensation for the repurposing of their content, while simultaneously remain also opposed to the AM-FM Act which seeks to grant the same to the creators who supply radio's main hook: music.

The Recording Academy, which has long been championing legislation to establish a performance right, continues to stand for music creators of AM/FM performance rights and against the hypocrisy of the NAB. In previous congresses, the Academy was at the forefront of the debate—bringing attention to the issue during Congressional hearings, GRAMMYs on the Hill, District Advocate day, and during GRAMMY weekend. This new bill provides the opportunity to address both fronts, granting creators the rights they deserve and illuminating the greater importance of control and consent for all creators.

“The AM-FM Act will give artists control over what is rightfully theirs, their music,” said Daryl P. Friedman, Chief Industry, Government, & Member Relations Officer, Recording Academy. “The legislation is about consent for use of content, a basic concept that the National Association of Broadcasters is seeking for its own television members. We thank Senator Blackburn and Representative Nadler for their leadership on this issue, and ask members of Congress who recognize the importance of intellectual property to join them and pass this legislation.”

READ MORE: AM/FM Radio: One Of The Lone Remaining Music Pirates

“The United States is an outlier in the world for not requiring broadcast radio to pay artists when playing their music, while requiring satellite and internet radio to pay,” said Chairman Nadler. “This is unfair to both artists and music providers. I’m proud to sponsor the Ask Musician For Music Act of 2019 which would give artists and copyright owners the right to make a choice to allow AM/FM radio to use their work for free or to seek compensation for their work. The bill would also allow them to negotiate rates with broadcasters in exchange for permission for it to be aired. This is what music creators want and deserve.”

Now is the perfect time to contact your Members of Congress today and urge them to support the AM-FM Act and finally establish a long overdue performance right on terrestrial radio. The time has come, indeed.

Let Your Representatives Know You Stand In Support Of Music Creators' Rights

Taylor Hanson with Brothers Osborne at GRAMMY Advocacy Brunch in 2024
Taylor Hanson with Brothers Osborne at GRAMMY Advocacy Brunch in 2024

Photo courtesy of the Recording Academy

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How Newly Elected Recording Academy Trustees Are Involved In Advocacy: Dani Deahl, Taylor Hanson & More

Newly elected Recording Academy Trustees Dani Deahl, Taylor Hanson, Torae Carr, and Sara Gazerak have a history of advocacy for music people. Get to know them below.

Advocacy/Jun 5, 2024 - 09:25 pm

The Recording Academy's Board of Trustees has a history of being filled with members that are both passionate about making music and advocating for music creators. The newly elected slate of trustees is no exception and four of the new members continuously show their dedication to advocacy.

Those Trustees are Dani Deahl, Taylor Hanson, Torae Carr, and Sara Gazerak. They're four of a total of 19 leaders of diverse backgrounds and disciplines who have assumed their position on the 2024-2025 Board of Trustees.

Effective June 1, the newly elected Trustees joined the Academy's midterm Trustees, including National Officers Tammy Hurt (Chair), Dr. Chelsey Green (Vice Chair), Gebre Waddell (Secretary/Treasurer), and Christine Albert (Chair Emeritus).

Their mission is to uphold the Academy's core values: to serve and represent the music community at-large through its commitment to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, fight for creators' rights, protect music people in need, preserve music's history, and invest in its future.

About that fight for creator's rights, specifically: read on for these four Trustees' advocacy bona fides.

Dani Deahl

This prominent artist, DJ and producer previously served as the Recording Academy's Chicago Chapter Governor. She's also been a prolific advocate for music makers and the greater music industry. 

In March, Deahl testified in front of the Illinois House and Senate on HB 4875/SB 3325 alongside fellow Chicago Chapter member Jeff Becker. HB 4875/SB 3325 represents a crucial step towards modernizing Illinois's Right of Publicity Act for the AI era.

By granting additional enforcement rights and remedies, the bill was created to shield musicians from exploitation by generative AI systems. While existing copyright laws offer some protection, the amendments directly address gaps in safeguarding an artist's name, image, likeness, and voice.

Shortly after the Academy and Deahl's advocacy efforts in Springfield, HB 4875/SB 3325 passed through both the Illinois House and Senate and is with Governor J.B. Pritzker waiting to be signed into law.

On Friday, May 3, Deahl participated in the Recording Academy's Inaugural GRAMMYs on the Hill Future Forum. Designed to provide a space to explore the most pressing issues facing music, this momentous occasion served as a pivotal platform to delve into the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the music community. The afternoon consisted of a series of panel discussions curated to explore both the promise and the peril that AI presents to music makers.

Deahl joined GRAMMY nominated producer, emcee, vocalist, and thought leader, Kokayi, and Recording Academy's Chief Advocacy & Public Policy Officer, Todd Dupler, for the first panel of the afternoon. 

Throughout the discussion, Deahl demonstrated live how she ethically uses AI as a tool to enhance her music, including stem separation, voice or tone replacement, and song generation. Dani also attended and participated in the 2024 GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards and Advocacy Day.

Taylor Hanson

You know that surname: he's a former Texas Chapter President, three-time GRAMMY nominated artist and member of the band Hanson.

Last August, Recording Academy members of the Texas Chapter, including Taylor Hanson, headed to Oklahoma City to meet with state government officials to build up the relationship between the Oklahoma music community and state leaders.

Throughout the day, the group met with Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell and the Deputy Director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, Jeanette Stanton, at the state's Capitol before heading to the Governor's Mansion.

During the meeting, they discussed the importance of the music community in Oklahoma, ways the state can continue to be involved in supporting the music community, and how the Recording Academy can be a resource for ensuring artists' voices are heard.

At the Governor's Mansion, Hanson participated in a panel with other Texas Chapter members on the Recording Academy and how Oklahoma Academy members and music creators can get involved. Specifically, the group highlighted the Recording Academy's District Advocate Day, which Hanson has been a vocal supporter of.

Taylor Hanson has participated in numerous District Advocate meetings, attended the 2024 GRAMMY Advocacy Brunch, and has also used his social platform to spread awareness about the Recording Academy's grassroots advocacy movements.

Torae Carr

On May 7, 2024, this rapper and former New York Chapter President joined other members of the Recording Academy's New York chapter and took to the state capitol in Albany. The purpose was to advocate for the passage of A 127, a crucial piece of legislation designed to safeguard the creative works of artists across New York.

Throughout the day, the group met with key members of the Assembly to express their support for the bill and highlight the crucial need to protect artistic freedom during legal proceedings.

At the time of the advocacy day, A 127 had already passed through the senate. Since then, it has been voted through the Assembly Codes Committee with the goal to be voted on in the Assembly in the coming days. 

Sara Gazerack

Gazerack isn't just a GRAMMY-winning jazz vocalist: she serves as one of the Los Angeles Chapter's Advocacy Representatives and most recently was a Los Angeles Chapter Governor.

This spring, Sarah joined some 60 GRAMMY winners, nominees, and Recording Academy executives in DC for GRAMMYs on the Hill. Sara met with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), and policy staff of Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA).

The Advocacy Day consisted of meetings with Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill and a visit to the White House for a roundtable discussion on  AI policy, ticket reforms, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the president's work on gun violence, before a special conversation with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The Recording Academy commends these Trustees for their commitment to advocacy for music people — and to follow their future work in this regard, keep checking RecordingAcademy.com/Advocacy for up-to-date info!

Illinois Passes AI Digital Replica Protections Law: What To Know About HB 4875

Jeff Becker, Senator Mary Edly-Allen and Dani Deahl
Jeff Becker, Senator Mary Edly-Allen and Dani Deahl

Photo courtesy of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus

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Illinois Passes AI Digital Replica Protections Law: What To Know About HB 4875

On Friday, May 24, the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 4875, sending the bill to the Governor's desk to become law. Here's what that means for artistic protections for artists and individuals.

Advocacy/May 29, 2024 - 08:41 pm

The Illinois General Assembly is fighting the good fight to protect artists and individuals from unauthorized AI digital replicas.

On Friday, May 24, the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 4875, sending the bill to the Governor's desk to become law. HB 4875, which unanimously cleared the state senate earlier in May, modernizes Illinois's existing Right of Publicity law to specifically address the challenges artists face from AI-generated creations and digital replicas.

Since the legislation's introduction by Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Senator Mary Edly-Allen the Recording Academy has been an advocate for the bill and how it establishes key safeguards and enforcement mechanisms to ensure an individual's identity is not misappropriated by generative AI. 

In April, members from the Recording Academy's Chicago Chapter went to the state capitol in Springfield for a state advocacy day in support of the bill. Immediately following that day of action, the bill cleared the House of Representatives for the first time and was sent to the Senate for further action. 

And earlier this year, in March, Recording Academy Chicago Chapter Board Members Jeff Becker and Dani Deahl testified in support of the legislation during hearings in the House and Senate. Their testimonies laid the foundation to pass the bill, bringing needed attention and support from state lawmakers. 

"As we embrace AI's potential, we must also be prepared for the risks it presents that are already here. The clearest example of these risks is the ability of AI to steal people's images and voices," Deahl testified. "I myself have had the unsettling experience of hearing my voice replicated by AI, delivering messages I never endorsed. This violation of identity is a profound invasion of personal autonomy."

Once signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois will become the second state in the nation to proactively protect creators from having their likeness replicated without permission by generative AI. In March, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed the ELVIS Act into law to become the first state. The Recording Academy worked closely with the Governor, Tennessee legislators, and other stakeholders in the passage of the groundbreaking law.

The Recording Academy is also prioritizing federal protections to confront this growing threat to human creativity. During this year's GRAMMYs on the Hill, GRAMMY winners and nominees came to Washington, D.C. to urge Members of Congress to support the House's No AI FRAUD Act and the Senate's NO FAKES Act. Both bills would establish similar protections to Illinois's HB 4875. 

For more information on how the Recording Academy continues to fight for artists' rights, keep checking our Advocacy page at recordingacademy.com.

The House Of Representatives Has Passed The TICKET Act: Here's What You Need To Know

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Lauren Daigle and Tammy Hurt in a GOTH meeting with Congressman Moran

Photo: Leigh Vogel

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The House Of Representatives Has Passed The TICKET Act: Here's What You Need To Know

This legislative success for music fans comes just two short weeks after the Recording Academy's GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day, and passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote.

Advocacy/May 17, 2024 - 09:32 pm

In an exciting step forward for the music community, the House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 3950, the Transparency In Charges for Key Events Ticketing (TICKET) Act, by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 388-24. This legislative success comes just two short weeks after the Recording Academy's GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day.

During the GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day, over sixty GRAMMY winners, nominees, and Recording Academy executives met with members of Congress to push for ticketing reform, including the House's TICKET Act and the Senate's Fans First Act. Throughout the day, the artist advocates told lawmakers how the broken ticket marketplace impacts their daily lives. Among the group was 2-time GRAMMY winner, Lauren Daigle, who detailed her experiences with bots and resellers driving up ticket prices, emphasizing the impact it has on the individuals hoping to purchase tickets to her shows. These conversations highlighted the importance of protecting the human connection that live music fosters between artists and fans and the clear need for ticket reforms to be passed by congress.

The House-passed TICKET Act brings transparency to the ticketing marketplace by implementing all-in pricing and takes major steps toward ending the harmful practices of speculative ticketing and deceptive websites. The bill, which also guarantees refunds for event cancellations, denotes serious progress in the fight to improve the ticketing marketplace.

The Recording Academy urges the Senate to seize this moment and pass S. 3457, the Fans First Act. The Fans First Act builds upon the House TICKET Act by strengthening its provisions against speculative ticketing and deceptive websites and improving price transparency by not only requiring all-in pricing, but mandating upfront itemization so fans know what they're paying for from the start. The Fans First Act also increases consumer protection by strengthening the BOTS Act and the FTC's ability to enforce any violations.

Upon its passage, Recording Academy CEO, Harvey Mason Jr. expressed gratitude for the bipartisan support and the swift movement of the TICKET Act through the House.

"Today's passage of the TICKET Act by the House of Representatives marks a significant step forward toward improving the concert ticket marketplace. The TICKET Act was a key focus of GRAMMYs on the Hill two weeks ago, and the Recording Academy thanks our Congressional leaders for bringing the bill to a vote shortly after meeting with Academy members.

We now urge the Senate to act quickly to incorporate the strong provisions contained in the Fans First Act and move a comprehensive ticket reform package that will provide transparency and protect artists and their fans. 

The passage of the TICKET Act represents a critical step toward dismantling the predatory practices that undermine this connection. It is a crucial step toward ensuring a more equitable and sustainable marketplace. The legislation not only benefits consumers but also safeguards the livelihoods of artists who depend on fair ticket sales. Its passage proves the power of advocacy and the importance of legislative action in preserving the special bond between artists and their audiences.

As we look forward to the Senate's taking further action on ticketing reform, the Recording Academy will continue to fight for a fairer, more equitable ticketing marketplace that ensures the connection between music makers and fans remains strong and untainted.   

Inside The New York Chapter's Advocacy For The Passage Of A. 127 — How It'd Help Protect Artistic Freedom

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Photo: Lauren Loverde

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Inside The New York Chapter’s Advocacy For The Passage Of A. 127 — How It’d Help Protect Artistic Freedom

At the heart of A.127 is the protection of artistic freedom during legal proceedings. The bill, which has already passed in the Senate, seeks to create standards for when an artist's creative work may be used in criminal trials.

Advocacy/May 15, 2024 - 03:30 pm

On Tuesday, May 7, members of the Recording Academy’s New York chapter took to the state capitol in Albany. Their mission? To advocate for the passage of A.127, a crucial piece of legislation designed to safeguard the creative works of artists across New York.

At the heart of A.127 is the protection of artistic freedom during legal proceedings. The bill, which has already passed in the Senate, seeks to create standards for when an artist's creative work may be used in criminal trials. If enacted into law, this measure would be a significant step towards ensuring that creators can express themselves freely without fear of their work being weaponized against them.

During the Albany Advocacy Day, Recording Academy advocates held meetings with the Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, Codes Chairman, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Assembly sponsor, Catalina Cruz, along with key members of the Assembly Codes Committee including, Gary Pretlow, Andrew Hevesi, Linda B. Rosenthal, John Zaccaro, Jr., Kenneth Zebrowski. In addition to these meetings, Recording Academy members met with Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, the powerful Assembly Black, Hispanic, and Puerto Rican Caucus, and the Assembly Codes Staff. Many key Senators stopped by meetings to reiterate their support for the legislation, including Senate sponsor and Codes Chair, Jamaal Bailey.

Advocates included New York Chapter President Torae Carr, iconic rap artist and producer Papoose, producer and composer Ray Angry, and CEO of 300 Entertainment Kevin Liles. Additionally, Granville Mullins, GRAMMY Nominated Songwriter/Musician, Nathaniel Reichman, GRAMMY Nominated Producer/Mixer, Cassandra Kubinski, Singer/Songwriter, William Derella, Artist Manager and Lynn Gonzalez, Partner, Granderson Des Rochers, LLP were in attendance.

While leaving Albany, Papoose shared an impassioned plea to his followers on Instagram to support the effort.

Just one week later, on May 14, the Assembly Codes Committee advanced the bill out of committee to the Rules Committee, Chaired by the Speaker, priming it for full consideration by the Assembly in the coming weeks.

One of the key issues Academy advocates highlighted in their meetings regarding A.127 is the disproportionate impact that the current practices have on certain communities, particularly Black and Brown artists, who often find their work unfairly scrutinized and misinterpreted in legal settings. While the legislation is not genre-specific, it acknowledges the historical targeting of hip hop and rap artists and seeks to rectify this by requiring prosecutors to show the relevance and admissibility of creative works in court.

The significance of A.127 cannot be overstated, particularly in a state as culturally rich and economically influential as New York. The music industry is a large part of the state's economy, providing over 200,000 jobs and contributing close to $20 billion to its GDP. With a vibrant community of 129,000 songwriters, New York needs to enact this critical legislation that will protect the state's music community.

The Recording Academy’s continued advocacy for A.127 only further highlights the Academy’s dedication to protecting the rights of music creators and upholding the fundamental principles of free expression. As the bill moves forward, it is essential for lawmakers to recognize the importance of protecting creative freedom and ensure that New York remains a beacon of artistic expression.

Inside The Inaugural GRAMMYs On The Hill Future Forum, Exploring The Impact Of AI On The Music Community