U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL) has introduced the Protect Working Musicians Act, which would allow artists and music creators to negotiate rates and terms for the use of their music online.
Currently, small and independent musicians have little ability to bargain rates for the use of their music by online streaming platforms. Rather, they must accept whatever is offered by these essential platforms to reach fans and get heard.
“Through the pandemic, streaming services became even more indispensable, allowing us to enjoy the music we love, even when live performances were shut down. But with the exponentially increasing market power of a few tech platforms, the voices of independent musicians are getting harder to hear,” says Rep. Deutch. “By empowering a more diverse chorus of voices to negotiate fair terms and rates for their music, the Protecting Working Musicians Act recognizes the fundamental value of music and gives working artists a fair shot.”
According to Deutch, the Protect Working Musicians Act would empower small, independent artists and music creators by allowing working artists and independent musicians to band together to negotiate with streaming platforms; ensuring that antitrust laws aren’t an obstacle to these negotiations; and by granting working artists and independent musicians the ability to collectively refuse to license their music to an online music distribution platform that refuses to pay market value rates.
The Protect Working Musicians Act is endorsed by the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and the Artist Rights Alliance (ARA).
“The Protect Working Musicians Act is crucial legislation to make sure that indie music survives as distribution on dominant digital music platforms becomes all the more necessary,” shares A2IM President and CEO, Dr. Richard James Burgess. “The power imbalance must be addressed by Congress so that creators and independent labels can band together to fight for fair compensation and against anticompetitive schemes that devalue music. Year after year these platforms grow their profits and subscriber bases at astronomical rates while artists struggle, especially in the wake of the pandemic. We thank Representative Deutch for standing up for the premise that artists and creators deserve to make a living wage even if they aren’t a mega star or signed to a major label.”
“We are so grateful to have a friend and supporter like Congressman Deutch,” says Rosanne Cash, co-chair of the Artist Rights Alliance and Grammy winning singer and songwriter. “His appreciation for music is evident and his commitment to all musicians gives me hope that we can create a fairer, stronger music economy that works for fans, services, artists, and songwriters alike.”
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