Monday, June 25, 2007

The MusicFIRST Coalition

Message from Neil Portnow (pictured above with singer Natalie Cole):

Dear Recording Academy Member,

More than three years ago during my first speech in Washington as President
of The Recording Academy, I called on Congress to enact a performance
royalty for artists when their recordings are played on the radio. Last
week, The Academy and a coalition of music groups launched a major campaign
to turn this call to action into a reality. The musicFIRST campaign has

As you may know, broadcasters in every other country in the developed world
compensate both artists and songwriters when their recordings are played on
the radio. Even in the U.S., digital broadcasters such as satellite,
Internet, and cable stations pay royalties to artists and songwriters. Only
U.S. over-the-air (terrestrial) broadcasters refuse to pay any compensation
to the singers, musicians, featured artists and session players who make
those recordings. It's time for this to change. And make no mistake, with
our membership of both artists and songwriters, we will not allow the
discussion to turn into a zero-sum game, pitting one against the other.
Current songwriter royalties should and will be protected. A new
performance royalty for artists must be in addition to that paid to writers.

The musicFIRST (Fairness in Radio Starting Today) Coalition seeks to end the
free pass for corporate radio. I encourage you, as a Recording Academy
member, to become involved in this campaign. Visit our coalition website: for more information and to make your voice
heard in Congress.

I will continue to keep you informed as we continue this fight for fairness
for recording artists.

Kind regards,
Neil Portnow
The Recording Academy

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