The Respect Act Fights For Pre-1972 Recordings

project72The Respect Act is being introduced today (May 29) in the House of Representatives, and is legislation that would require digital radio services to pay royalties for pre-1972 recordings that are played by companies that use the statutory license administered by SoundExchange. The act is being introduced by Representatives George Holding (R-NC) and John Conyers (D-MI).

SoundExchange was joined by dozens of recording artists to launch “Project72,” a campaign to support The Respect Act. Project72 spotlights the fact that digital radio providers are not paying royalties to musicians who recorded music before February 15, 1972. This is based on the companies’ interpretation of state and federal copyright law. SoundExchange estimates that this practice deprived legacy artists and record labels of more than $60 million in digital royalties last year.

“We applaud Representatives Holding and Conyers for taking this step toward righting a wrong being done to pre-72 artists whose music has inspired all of us. The Respect Act rightfully requires digital radio to treat all sound recordings equally, regardless of the date they were made,” said Michael Huppe, SoundExchange president and CEO. “It’s time we show respect for the legends of Motown, Jazz and Blues, and those who gave birth to Rock ‘n’ Roll. Their work is still a massive force on radio and is the foundation of the music we listen to today.”

Project72 kicks off with an open letter, signed by more than 70 recording artist including The Allman Brothers Band, The Beach Boys, Rosanne Cash, Melissa Etheridge, Al Green, B.B. King, The Moody Blues, Cyndi Lauper, Martha Reeves, members of Steely Dan, The Supremes, The Temptations and Three Dog Night.


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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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