Thursday, June 20, 2024



Photo Credit: Robert Trachtenberg

Country music icon Randy Travis and SoundExchange CEO and President Michael Huppe will testify before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, next Wednesday, June 26, for a hearing entitled, “Radio, Music, and Copyrights: 100 Years of Inequity for Recording Artists.” Travis and Huppe will take questions from lawmakers on the American Music Fairness Act (H.R. 791) – bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will close a century-old loophole and require AM/FM radio stations to pay artists royalties when their songs are played on the air. Travis will also be in Washington advocating for protecting music creators around the advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The two issues are especially relevant for Travis, who suffered a stroke in 2013 that has prevented him from continuing to keep up a rigorous touring schedule that had been a primary source of income for decades. Last month, Travis released his first new song since the stroke, “Where That Came From,” with the use of groundbreaking – and artist-sanctioned – AI tools.

“Royalties are critical for survival in today’s music industry, and that’s especially true for working class musicians and performers who are not able to tour,” said Travis. “The American Music Fairness Act will make a real difference in the lives of working musicians – not just big-name artists, but folks all around the country who play on albums or sing backup vocals on top of a nine-to-five job. I’m looking forward to this hearing and talking about the urgent need for Congress to pass this bill and level the playing field for creators.”

AM/FM radio remains the most popular music delivery platform in the U.S., reaching nearly 300 million people (88% of the country) each week while playing an estimated 967 million songs each year.

“I’m honored to testify alongside Randy Travis, a true legend in the history of American music,” added Huppe. “Randy has faced incredible challenges throughout his career, and his resilience in the face of adversity is a model to all of us. The American Music Fairness Act would end a 100 year era of unfair treatment to the creators of the music that feeds the most popular music delivery platform in our country.

The American Music Fairness Act was introduced in the U.S. House by U.S. Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and in the U.S. Senate by Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). The legislation offers a balanced solution that ensures music creators are fairly compensated when their songs are played on AM/FM radio and that small, independent broadcasters are able to thrive. The legislation enjoys support from a diverse coalition of artists, broadcasters, labels, and music lovers: Broadcasters, such as the Alliance for Community Media, Common Frequency, Media Alliance, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB), Prometheus Radio Project, and REC Networks – which represent a broad coalition of community broadcasters – also support AMFA.

Artists from Gloria Estefan to Dionne Warwick to David Byrne to Common to Sammy Hagar – and thousands more – have voiced their support for AMFA.

Every Democratic and Republican administration since President Carter has supported a performance right for sound recordings in the U.S.

Americans support passing a law to give artists performance royalties for AM/FM radio plays by a 4:1 ratio.musicFIRST works to ensure music creators get fair pay for their work on all platforms and wherever and however it is played. We rally the people and organizations who make and love music to end the broken status quo that allows AM/FM to use any song ever recorded without paying its performers a dime. And to stand up for fair pay on digital radio — and whatever comes next.

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