Dionne Warwick appeared alongside Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) to make another run at establishing a performance royalty for songs that are played over traditional radio.
The move comes in a continuing legislative battle between policymakers and the artist community that dates back decades.
The trio, who introduced the American Music Fairness Act, proclaimed that the bill would require that AM and FM stations pay performers and labels when their songs are played over the airwaves. They said that smaller broadcasters would pay much less to ease any burdens to their bottom line, while satellite and digital radio stations would pay out the royalties in full.
Warwick recalled that she was first enlisted to advocate for the performance royalty 48 years ago by the late Frank Sinatra.
“That is how long I have been involved,” she shared.
The National Association of Broadcasters quickly announced its opposition to the bill.
Gordon Smith, president and CEO of the NAB, responded to Warwick and others, stating, “For decades, broadcast radio has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the music industry, launching and sustaining the careers of countless artists, promoting album sales and streams, and helping to foster a robust music-creation environment that is the envy of the world.
In previous back-and-forths, the NAB has been lobbying for alternate legislation, the Local Radio Freedom Act, with 138 sponsors in the House and 18 in the Senate.
Of course, listening habits have evolved greatly since Sinatra and Warwick were dominating the charts, but that hasn’t stopped the artist community from going after their fair share.