musicFIRST slams new coalition of Internet royalty bill supporters

In a statement, Kalo said such a move would result in pay cuts for artists and musicians, as well as pad Pandora’s pockets with extra cash.

“This bill is now commonly known as the ‘Screw Artists Act’ because it would produce a windfall to millionaires, mandate a pay cut for artists, and provide no benefits to subscribers,” Kalo said. “Pandora’s attempt to hide behind a coalition of the already willing reeks of a desperate attempt to dodge accountability and create ‘faux-mentum’ for a bill facing growing opposition.” 

The musicFIRST Coalition railed against the Internet Radio Fairness Act when it was introduced last month, arguing that the bill would lower the rates for Internet radio stations by taking money out of the pockets of recording artists and musicians. The group represents recording artists, musicians and minority organizations that advocate for performance rights.

It also noted that the AFL-CIO has called on Congress to oppose the Internet royalty bill. In a letter sent to lawmakers last week, AFL-CIO Director of Government Affairs William Samuel argued that Internet radio services “do not need a government handout financed on the backs of working musicians” and that the bill would “start a race to the bottom in performers’ compensation.”

The Internet Radio Fairness Act proposes to put Internet radio stations on the 801(b) standard of the Copyright Act, which is the same standard used to set the royalty fees paid by cable and satellite radio like SiriusXM for playing a song. Cable and satellite radio stations pay lower rates than Internet radio services do.

On the other hand, the musicFIRST Coalition supports a competing draft measure from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) that would put cable and satellite radio services on the same royalty-setting standard as Internet radio. This would make digital radio services like SiriusXM pay higher rates for playing a song on their station.


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