Despite being a technological world leader, the U.S. continues to lag behind its UK and Euro counterparts when it comes to fairly compensating its artists and, as a result, American artists lose millions of dollars in revenues from royalties in the U.S. and abroad. As usual, it stems from members of Congress who are beholden to powerful lobbyists from large radio corporations and others.
For decades, broadcasters have successfully argued to Congress that since musicians benefit from airplay they should not have to compensate them but only the composer.Ironically, it’s extremely rare that the radio DJ informs the listeners of the name of the artist or the song — the sound seems merely a segue from paid commercial to paid commercial. Yet, satellite and webcast delivery systems, like Pandora, Sirus and XM, are not only required to pay the composer but also the performers.
The U.S. is one of a few industrialized countries in the world to not require a terrestrial broadcast performance right royalty. As a result, many if not all of the 75 countries that do have such performance rights do not compensate the U.S. Artist because the U.S. does not reciprocate with its artist’s rights. Recent projection show that tens of millions of dollars of artist royalty for U.S. artists is lost as a result.
Just as many record companies were displaced by the digitalization of music, there is a belief that traditional terrestrial radio stations will slowly be replaced by internet and satellite stations, forcing broadcasting companies to relent or work out individual agreements with artists who refuse to release their music to these broadcast stations without compensation.