As Congress gets ready to reshape the rules for music streaming in 2018, today 38 artists sent a statement to Congress urging passage of the CLASSICS Act to stop the rip off of older artists by digital music services like SiriusXM.
Today, payment for recordings made before 1972 is controlled by state laws. Some digital services such as SiriusXM claim those state laws allow them to use classic pre-72 music — some of the most iconic and influential songs ever recorded — without paying the same royalties required for newer music — and in many cases without paying anything to the recording artists at all. The CLASSICS Act ensures digital radio cannot exploit loopholes and abuse classic artists anymore by amending federal law to require the same digital royalties for all music whenever it was recorded.
The artists’ statement follows:
Digital radio makes billions of dollars a year from airplay of music made before 1972. Yet, because of an ambiguity in state and federal copyright laws, artists and copyright owners who created that music receive nothing for the use of their work. The ‘CLASSICS Act’ would correct this inequity and finally ensure that musicians and vocalists who made those timeless songs finally get their due. We urge Congress to pass the CLASSICS Act and other pro-artist reforms quickly.
T Bone Burnett
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Beth Nielsen Chapman
East Bay Ray
Wesley Stace (John Wesley Harding)
John Paul White
Hank Williams Estate