Betts calls out unjust treatment of musicians
Dickey Betts, founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, is calling for music fairness and the unjust treatment of musicians when it comes to compensation and treatment of artists by major radio corporations. He supports the American Music Fairness Act which, if passed, would require that performing artists are paid for the use of their songs on FM/AM radio — just like they already do on digital streaming services.
The bipartisan bill was introduced by Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) earlier this summer with Dionne Warwick, Sam Moore, Dropkick Murphys’ Ken Casey on hand in Washington vocalizing their support. We were in attendance as each expressed their feelings that terrestrial radio has utilized “promotion” as an excuse to avoid paying artists for spins.
It’s well known that songwriters get paid each time a song is played on the radio, but the artists do not — unless, of course, they’re the songwriters as well. Now, Betts is speaking out ahead of this weekend’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony in Cleveland, reminding the public that music creators are being shortchanged.
“This weekend, as we celebrate the induction of legendary artists into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s worth remembering that music creators are still not paid by AM/FM radio when their songs are played over the air. That’s just wrong,” Betts shares. “As we stand up and applaud the careers of star performers, we also should take this moment to stand up for music creators who aren’t fairly compensated for their work. Major media companies rake in billions of dollars in advertising and yet refuse to pay artists a dime when their music is played. The American Music Fairness Act is before Congress and would rectify this wrong. As we celebrate our diverse musical culture, we should be doing right by the artists behind the music and paying them for their contributions.”
By a two to one margin, Americans also believe it’s unfair that artists are not paid when their music is played on traditional radio, according to a recent national survey. However, the lack of understanding of the plight of music creators has made it easier for the corporations that control radio stations to get away with this injustice, as a full 60% of Americans report they were not aware that music creators were not paid when their music is played on FM/AM stations.
The American Music Fairness Act is in response to the Local Radio Freedom Act that Steve Womack (R-AR) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced in May and is championed by the National Association of Broadcasters, and bipartisan majority support in the House. The act is a resolution declaring that Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charges that create economic hardships for locally-owned radio stations, with more than 70 cosponsors in the House. Additionally, US Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and John Barrasso (R-WY) are leading a companion resolution in the Senate.