Congress, It's Time to Pay Musicians. NYTIMES Op-ED

aram

Member
Messages
2,918
Really great Op-ED in the NYTIMES on Sunday about the Music Bus bill. This really gets to the heart of the matter, and talks about how middle income musicians have been so affected by by the rise of the internet/piracy/streaming. Since moving to Canada four years ago, I've seen how these types of protections, plus greater arts funding in general, can really make a difference.

Here's the article.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/28/...s.html?mtrref=www.google.ca&assetType=opinion

============================================================
The Grammys are coming to New York City. And Congress just did. On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee held a field hearing in the city, where Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, and the artists Aloe Blacc and Booker T. Jones appeared. They testified in support of legislation that protects the rights of artists and helps them receive fairer compensation for their creative works.

But it’s not enough for Congress to hold hearings. It must pass the “Music Bus” bill, which will benefit the financial interests of musicians.

Just how tough is the financial situation for most musicians? The industry’s global revenue declined to about $15 billion in 2015 from almost $40 billion in the late 1990s. This contraction has hit music’s middle class: the people you’ve never heard of but who write, record and produce songs you know by heart.

For example, the number of full-time songwriters living in Nashville has dropped 80 percent since 2000. In Austin, Tex., 70 percent of musicians earn less than $10,000 a year from music, and 32 percent don’t even make minimum wage. Music creators simply “cannot afford to make a living,” said Daryl Friedman, the head of industry and government relations for the Recording Academy.

Passing the Music Bus bill would go a long way to helping musicians earn a better paycheck. It’s actually an omnibus bill composed of three acts:

First, the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act, which establishes a performance right for artists. Right now, radio stations don’t have to pay artists whose songs they play on the airwaves (the stations pay performance royalties to the music publishers and the songwriters). The United States is the only developed country where this is the case. This act would require stations to pay artists and record companies a royalty. It also includes the Allocation for Music Producers Act, which would enshrine in law the right for producers to receive royalties due them. The Fair Play, Fair Pay Act has bipartisan support. But the legacy radio broadcasters oppose this measure.

Second, the Classics Act, which closes the loophole in federal copyright law that prevents recordings from before 1972 from receiving compensation. Even the United States Copyright Office has noted the inconsistency that pre-1972 works aren’t covered adequately with copyright protection. The Classics Act would allow for the payment of royalties to artists and record labels that made songs many decades ago. This act, which would particularly benefit older musicians who are struggling financially, also has bipartisan support.

Third, the Music Modernization Act, which creates a blanket license for mechanical royalties. (Mechanicals are the royalty payments due publishers and songwriters when their songs are reproduced in various formats like CDs, LPs, downloads and streaming.) Currently a copyright board determines the rate of compensation according to a fixed legal standard. But this act would enable the board to base rates on the market value of what a buyer or seller is willing to pay. A change to this more dynamic standard would mean that songwriters could be compensated more in line with the market.

Despite the bipartisan support for these measures, it will still take substantial effort to pressure Congress to act. “We’ve seen a growth of interest in creator activism like never before,” Mr. Friedman said. The Recording Academy has marshaled significant resources toward promoting these bills — for instance, starting the Grammy District Advocate Program, in which thousands of members of the academy meet with elected officials every year in support of legislation. Until now, Congress has been waiting for some type of industry consensus and bipartisan support to emerge, and now it has. By finally passing the Music Bus bill, compensation for musicians will be more in tune with what they deserve.
============================================================
 

stimpson

Member
Messages
1,878
not gonna happen in the U.S. anytime soon. Congress thinks musicians are losers

move to Sweden where the government values artistic contributions
 

leftygeetar

Member
Messages
1,664
I'm more interesting in musician rights/royalties than songwriters and producers. I also feel that the way songwriting credit is attributed needs to change significantly. It was never accurate for rock.

When someone adds an inventive bass line or drum part or guitar part to a songwriter's precious chords, melody & words it often has a game changing impact. Think of Every Breath You Take without Andy Summer's guitar part --there's tons of examples out there. Or Stewart Copeland's drumming as lead instrument on Message In A Bottle.

Also, musicians are supposed to get a mechanical royalty though it's very small, I would raise that.

Of course, these days, there's so much music willfully posted on YouTube I rarely have need to buy anything new.
 

taco-man

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,311
Currently a copyright board determines the rate of compensation according to a fixed legal standard. But this act would enable the board to base rates on the market value of what a buyer or seller is willing to pay. A change to this more dynamic standard would mean that songwriters could be compensated more in line with the market.
This part is confusing.
 

Spec

Member
Messages
1,009
Government should not get into the business of subsidizing the arts. That leads to all kinds of mediocrity being funded, look at the current art world.

Streaming services are the ones government should be going after. Make them pay a fair compensation.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,311
I've seen precious little support for songwriters and musicians on The Gear Page, let alone in Congress.

Just check any of the "ASCAP/BMI MAFIA SHUT DOWN MY VENUE!!!" threads, for starters.

Yup, just waiting for the hate to start flowing.
 
Messages
5,026
There needs to be more stringent enforcement of piracy laws, not subsidization of art. I can basically listen to any music I want for free on youtube and watch whatever I want to watch free through torrents and the like. There needs to be an overhaul of laws around this instead of just giving people money through subjective cronyism of what is 'art.'
 

Guitar Josh

Resident Curmudgeon
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
19,636
This is a double edged sword. If you pay musicians more for digital rights, the content providers will charge more, and the subscribers will go down, reducing revenue, and leaving musicians with less anyway. So it's pretty much all just a fool's errand.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
24,748
Government should not get into the business of subsidizing the arts. That leads to all kinds of mediocrity being funded, look at the current art world.

Streaming services are the ones government should be going after. Make them pay a fair compensation.

Strangely enough, there's centuries of examples of great art being funded by governments.
For starters, are you familiar with a place called "Europe"?
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
24,748
This is a double edged sword. If you pay musicians more for digital rights, the content providers will charge more, and the subscribers will go down, reducing revenue, and leaving musicians with less anyway. So it's pretty much all just a fool's errand.

Obviously the solution is to lower the payouts so that content providers can charge less and the subscribers will go up, increasing revenue and giving musicians more.
 

taez555

Member
Messages
9,326
Would you like to try Starbucks new Blonde Espresso Roast? It's bold yet smooth, and can be substituted in any of your favorite espresso based drinks.

Starbucks, we keep musicians employed. :)
 

rsm

Senior Member
Messages
14,080
thinking the radio industry (among others) is against this, and probably has more $ to influence.

money talks, as usual.

when the music's over, turn out the lights. :oops:
 




Top Bottom