AFTRA Supports Performance Rights Act That Will Be Introduced This Week

After years of trying to get Congress to hear the case for terrestrial radio paying royalties to artists and labels for songs they broadcast, it looks like it will happen this week.

Much to the chagrin of National Association of Broadcasters who according to Billboard, ‘has long opposed paying such royalties under the claim that radio play serves as promotion that drives music sales’.

AFTRA sent us a lovely press release that spends an entire paragraph dropping names of important people then it explains what the release is about. We posted it after the jump and after we made fun of their release writing. Enjoy!


Members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the people who entertain and inform America, applaud Representatives John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Howard Berman (D-CA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jane Harman (D-CA), John Shadegg (R-AZ), and Paul Hodes (D-NH), and Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) for their support in sponsoring the Performance Rights Act. The bill, reintroduced today in both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, closes a century-old loophole in the U.S. Copyright Act ensuring that broadcast radio compensates all artists for playing their music on AM and FM radio stations.

“Recording artists fuel the business that sustains radio in the U.S.,” emphasized AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth.

“All other advanced nations recognize artists’ value to terrestrial radio, except the United States. The U.S. recognizes a performance right for artists on all other platforms, including satellite radio, Internet webcast radio, and cable radio channels. The federal government now has an opportunity to correct this final area of inequity-terrestrial radio in the U.S.-by creating a performance right for all recording artists to receive fair compensation for the value they bring to the American airwaves and our culture as a whole.”

AFTRA members who have spoken out on Capitol Hill about establishing a performance right on terrestrial radio include Judy Collins, Lyle Lovett, Alice Peacock, Ray Benson, Sam Moore, and Martha Reeves of Martha and the Vandellas.

Senators Leahy and Hatch and Representatives Berman and Issa first
introduced this bicameral and bipartisan legislation in December of 2007.

AFTRA is a proud member of the musicFIRST Coalition, which is a partnership of both artists and organizations in the music community who support compensating performers for their work when it is played over the air. As an early proponent of establishing a performance right in terrestrial radio, AFTRA continues to champion efforts to assure that all artists, including featured artists, background singers, and session musicians, receive fair pay for airplay.

About AFTRA The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, musicvideos, commercials, audiobooks, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet, and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work
and craft to enhance American culture and society. Visit AFTRA online at