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Long List of Artists Rally Congress to Pass Act to Get Royalties Paid For Pre-1972 Recordings

by VVN Music

Next year, the United States congress will take up the rules for paying royalties for music streams and a group of artists want them to reinstate payments for music recorded before 1972.

Today, payment for recordings made before 1972 is controlled by state laws. Some digital services such as SiriusXM claim those state laws allow them to use classic pre-72 music – some of the most iconic and influential songs ever recorded – without paying the same royalties required for newer music – and in many cases without paying anything to the recording artists at all. The Classics Act ensures digital radio cannot exploit loopholes and abuse classic artists anymore by amending federal law to require the same digital royalties for all music whenever it was recorded.

Among the artists signing a statement issued by the Content Creators Coalition are T Bone Burnett, Rosanne Cash, Ry Cooder, Emmylou Harris, Debbie Harry, Kris Kristofferson, Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt, Henry Rollins and the estate of Hank Williams. 

The letter:

Pass the CLASSICS Act

Digital radio makes billions of dollars a year from airplay of music made before 1972. Yet, because of an ambiguity in state and federal copyright laws, artists and copyright owners who created that music receive nothing for the use of their work. The ‘CLASSICS Act’ would correct this inequity and finally ensure that musicians and vocalists who made those timeless songs finally get their due. We urge Congress to pass the CLASSICS Act and other pro-artist reforms quickly.
  • Stelth Alexander
  • Matraca Berg
  • T Bone Burnett
  • Clem Burke
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter 
  • Rosanne Cash
  • Beth Nielsen Chapman
  • Marc Cohn
  • Ry Cooder
  • Rodney Crowell
  • John Doe
  • Jerry Douglas
  • Mark Erelli
  • Mary Gauthier
  • Emmylou Harris
  • Debbie Harry
  • David Hood
  • Patterson Hood
  • Jason Isbell
  • Kris Kristofferson
  • John Leventhal
  • Mac McAnally
  • John McCrea
  • Bette Midler
  • Rhett Miller
  • Parker Millsap
  • Jason Moran
  • Paul Moravec
  • Grant-Lee Phillips
  • John Prine
  • Bonnie Raitt
  • East Bay Ray
  • Vernon Reid
  • Henry Rollins
  • Amanda Shires
  • Wesley Stace (John Wesley Harding)
  • Chris Stein
  • Jeff Tweedy
  • John Paul White
  • Hank Williams Estate
  • Hal Willner