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RIAA Applauds Introduction of New Performance Rights Legislation

WASHINGTON -- The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a member of the musicFIRST Coalition (www.musicfirstcoalition.org), applauded the introduction today of bipartisan, bicameral legislation requiring that FM and AM broadcasters, like their satellite and online competitors and like virtually every other industrialized nation in the world, fairly compensate musicians and labels when music is played on the radio.

The Performance Rights Act will close an archaic provision of America’s copyright law that allows AM and FM radio stations to earn $16 billion a year in advertising revenue without compensating the artists and musicians who bring music to life and listeners’ ears to the radio dial.  AM and FM radio is the only music platform that does not pay a fair performance right to artists and musicians for the use of their work. The Performance Rights Act was introduced in the Senate today by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.); and in the House by Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Representatives Howard Berman (D-Cal.), Darrell Issa (R-Cal.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jane Harman (D-Cal.), John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) and Henry Waxman (D-Cal.).

The Performance Rights Act brings the United States in line with almost every other nation in the world. Only a few countries do not provide a fair performance right on radio, including Iran, North Korea and China. And because the U.S. doesn’t have a performance right, foreign stations do not have to pay American artists when their music is played on stations around the globe – an inequity that costs American artists tens of millions of dollars each year.

Upon introduction of the bill in the Senate and House of Representatives Mitch Bainwol, Chairman & CEO, RIAA commented:   

“This legislation is about fairness and a level playing field, plain and simple. The arguments for this legislation have never been more compelling, the time never more ripe, and the level of support within the music community never more strong.  Every one of the competitors of FM and AM radio pays artists and labels for the use of their music. Moreover, in these economically challenging times, we cannot ignore the millions of dollars that's left on the table when American music is played overseas.”

“The reasonable concerns of small broadcasters have been addressed in this bill.  Nonetheless, the National Association of Broadcasters continues to thumb its nose at Congress and refuse to come to the table in good faith.  We commend Chairman Conyers, Chairman Leahy, and their colleagues for their outstanding leadership on this important bill.”

For more information about the bill, please visit: www.musicfirstcoalition.org/#/media/press-releases/?press=0.

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members are the music labels that comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi- Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

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