Gloria Estefan is Fighting Against Big Radio Conglomerates – Here’s Everything We Know

Lead Photo: Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage
Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage
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The fight for music fairness continues as more artists back the major legislation including living legends like Gloria Estefan. On Feb. 2, Stefan served as a witness at a hearing for the American Music Fairness Act at the House Judiciary Committee. The bill was introduced to Congress last year. 

The House Judiciary Committee uploaded a clip of Estefan’s testimony to their Twitter page. “Music has value,” Estefan said during her testimony, “That’s why I’m here to encourage you to vote in favor of the American Music Fairness Act. Each of the songs that were meaningful to you was a labor of love for the songwriters, the artist, the musicians, and the producers that brought it to life… but when their music gets played on the radio, artists don’t get paid, only songwriters do.”

According to the petition to garner more support, the legislation would “close a loophole that has allowed terrestrial radio broadcasters to go nearly a century without paying performers for their work.” This would mean that radio stations would have to pay artists for playing their music in the same way that streaming services do. Variety reported, “The United States is the only major country in the world where terrestrial radio pays no royalties to performers or recorded-music copyright owners of the songs they play.”

The publication also noted that this situation largely has to do with radio station conglomerates with major lobbying power in Congress. In hopes to make sure artists are compensated fairly for their work, Florida Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch and California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa introduced the act to Congress back in June 2021.

On social media, there is a growing number of musical acts that are supporting this bill. Cyndi Lauper, Dionne Warwick, Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys, and Blake Morgan are just some of the people supporting the bill. Morgan also wrote a letter to the Board of Directors at iHeartRadio and Cumulus Media on behalf of 14,00 petitioners to urge them to pay artists when they play their music on their AM/FM radios. Warwick, Ken Casey, and Sam Moore joined Congressmen Deutch and Issa during the bill’s introduction.

Back in May 2021, a bill was introduced by two Congress representatives called the Local Radio Freedom Act — which is presumably the bill that the Fairness Act is in response to. The act argued for terrestrial radio stations to remain royalty-free as to not add any more economic hardships to already-struggling radio stations. The bill was supported by the National Association of Broadcasters.

What happens after the committee hearing has yet to be announced, but until then, anyone interested in supporting the act can send an email to your representatives in Congress here.