Fergie, Mary J. Blige, Dave Matthews press Congress for radio compensation

Two dozen recording artists signed a petition last week encouraging Congress to pass the Performance Rights Act, which would require radio stations to pay royalties to singers in addition to the songwriters who already get paid.

Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, Josh Groban, Fergie and Mary J. Blige are among the singers who signed the petition, which was timed to coincide with the Grammy awards.

"In speaking with these talented artists, I heard three constant refrains," said Daryl Friedman, vice president of advocacy and government relations for The Recording Academy.

"First, their concerns for background singers and musicians and older legacy artists who need to be fairly compensated," he said. "Second, their willingness to sit down with radio to work out a solution; and third, if radio still refuses to talk, their commitment to take the fight to Washington."

Broadcasters argue playing the songs is free promotion for the singers, which leads to other money-making gigs. Songwriters, on the other hand, don't get any of the limelight, which is why they receive royalties.

Satellite radio, internet radio and cable TV music channels are already required to compensate performers.

Take a look at my post from yesterday about the music industry's overall decline in music sales.