May 12, 2014

Senators Announce Upcoming Introduction of Songwriter Equity Act to More Fairly Compensate Music Creators

Senators Alexander, Corker and Hatch Join Colleagues in the House of Representatives to Push for Music Licensing Modernization


Nashville, Tenn., May 12, 2014: In a special media event held today at Nashville's famed Bluebird Cafe, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bob Corker (R-TN) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced the upcoming introduction of the Senate version of the Songwriter Equity Act, a bipartisan bill to amend two outdated portions of the U.S. Copyright Act and level the playing field for songwriters, composers and publishers seeking fair compensation for their work. The legislation would allow a "rate court" to consider other royalty rates as evidence when establishing digital performance rates for songwriters and composers, and it would adapt a fair rate standard for reproduction (mechanical licenses). The House version of the Songwriter Equity Act, H.R. 4079, was introduced by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) in February.

ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams remarked: "American music is the most popular music in the world. The men and women who create it deserve to earn fair payment for their craft. The time has come to modernize the music licensing system in a way that allows them to thrive alongside the businesses that revolve around their music. Senators Alexander, Corker and Hatch should be commended for introducing the Songwriter Equity Act. In joining Representative Doug Collins in this effort, they have proven themselves to be true champions of music creators."

ASCAP award-winning songwriter Rivers Rutherford ("When I Get Where I'm Going," "Ain't Nothing 'Bout You" and "Real Good Man"), who performed his hit song "Real Good Man" at this morning's event, commented: "The irony of the digital age is it’s getting harder and harder to make a living as a songwriter, even though our music is being heard by more people in more places than ever before. Songwriters today aren’t being fairly compensated for our work, but this bill would help level the playing field at a time when we really need it."

Recently, award-winning ASCAP songwriters and composers from different music genres, including Nashville's Josh Kear ("Need You Now," "Blown Away"), met with elected officials in Washington, D.C., to press for music licensing reform as part of the inaugural ASCAP “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.

On Tuesday, May 6th, Kear, along with ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, ASCAP Vice Chairman Jimmy Webb ("Wichita Lineman"), Carly Simon ("You're So Vain"), Randy Newman ("You've Got a Friend in Me"), Alan and Marilyn Bergman ("The Way We Were"), Jon Batiste ("Creative"), Narada Michael Walden ("Freeway of Love") and Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart ("Crazy on You") performed at "We Write the Songs," a special concert held at the Library of Congress and sponsored by The ASCAP Foundation. During the performance, they discussed the unique challenges facing songwriters in today’s digital music marketplace and urged policymakers to support meaningful updates to federal laws that regulate how songwriters license their works.

Joined by ASCAP Board members, including Valerie Simpson ("Ain't No Mountain High Enough"), most of the performing songwriters remained in D.C. to walk the halls of Congress on Wednesday, May 7th. In their meetings on the Hill, the songwriters urged Members of Congress to support the Songwriter Equity Act and also emphasized the importance of updating ASCAP’s consent decree, which was originally created in 1941 and last updated in 2001, before the introduction of the iPod.

Learn more about the Songwriter Equity Act by clicking here.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With 700,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.


Media Contacts
Lauren Iossa / ASCAP

Alison Toczylowski / ASCAP

Audrey Cooling / Glover Park Group