Time for Congress to do it Frank Sinatra’s Way

December 12, 2018

Time for Congress to do it Frank Sinatra’s Way: Music Community Marks the 30thAnniversary of Legendary Singer’s Call for a Terrestrial Performance Right

Renews Call For Congress to Right the Historical Wrong

Washington, D.C. (December 12, 2018)– Prominent members of the music community are using today’s 30th anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s letter to fellow music creators to renew the call for a terrestrial performance right for recordings that are played on AM/FM radio so that performers are treated more fairly.

In words that still ring true today, Frank Sinatra penned letters to two dozen of the best-known artists of the day–Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Bruce Springsteen among them–on December 12, 1988. In the lettersSinatra urged building “a unified effort from fellow recording artists” to get Congress to pass legislation so that artists receive royalties when their work is broadcast on FM/AM radio.

musicFIRST and other advocates for fair payment for music creators are marking today’s anniversary by calling on a new generation of artist leaders to assume Frank Sinatra’s mantle and fight for fair payment for all music creators in the United States and to make 2019 the year it becomes a reality.

In an op-ed entitled “Time to Honor Frank Sinatra’s Call for Radio Fairness” published in Billboard, SoundExchange CEO Michael Huppe points out that “broadcasters’ free ride on the backs of artists wasn’t fair in 1988. And it’s even more unfair today as FM radio competes for free with streaming services that rightly pay artists for their work.”

Huppe goes onto say that “efforts by the music industry to find a common ground of “fairness” with the broadcasters have thus far failed. That is why we need to heed Sinatra’s call to organize and demand that Congress pass legislation to give creators royalties when their music is played on terrestrial radio.”

In 2018, Congress worked with music creators to craft and pass the Music Modernization Act. The historic piece of legislation ensures that artists from all generations will be paid more fairly when their music is played on all platforms, except AM/FM radio.

“The lack of a terrestrial performance right is a historical injustice and one that has gone on for far too long,” said Dr. Richard James Burgess, CEO of American Association of Independent Music (A2IM). “With the passage of the Music Modernization Act, 2018 has proven that when the music industry unites for a cause, lasting change can occur. Music creators are proud to stand with Frank Sinatra and those artists and their estates that deserve fair compensation. Together we will fight for Frank’s vision of a terrestrial performance right and a better environment for music creators well into the future.”

About the musicFIRST Coalition: We are a national coalition of the music community representing artists and record labels that supports paying music creators when their work is played on any platform. To learn more visit musicfirstcoalition.org and join the conversation on Twitter @musicFIRST.

About A2IM: A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of more than 500 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America’s creative class that represents America’s diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.