Gloria Estefan demands that American radio pay the authors for playing them on the stations

The singer Gloria Estefan made it clear this Wednesday before the United States Congress that "music has value" and required AM and FM radio stations to pay artists royalties to play their songs.

Estefan testified before a House committee calling for the passage of a bill called "American Music Fairness Act"which would force radio stations to financially compensate artists for rebroadcasting their tunes.

The United States is one of the few countries in the world where AM and FM radios do not pay royalties to the artists who sing them, only to those who write them.

"Music has value and that’s why I’m here today to encourage them to vote in favor of the ‘American Music Fairness Act"said Esteban, who intervened virtually.

The singer born in Cuba 64 years ago asked the members of the committee to think for a moment of a melody with great personal meaning, perhaps the song of their first kiss or the time someone dragged them onto the dance floor or a rhythm that helped them overcome a difficult moment.

Every one of those songs said, "they are valuable and meaningful and were a labor of love on the part of the songwriters, artists, musicians and producers who brought them to life".

"They poured their own hearts and souls into their creation, but when their music plays on the radio, the artists don’t get paid. Only songwriters benefit from the advertising dollars radio stations earn"Estefan denounced.

She acknowledged that she has been lucky because as a singer, songwriter, actress and businesswoman she has been able to make a living with music, but she stated that the situation is very different for the hundreds of artists she represented this Wednesday and who do not see a single dollar when their songs play on the radio.

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In addition, he stated that his career was able to take off with musical tours and with the sale of physical records, but that income has decreased with the pandemic and with the impact of the internet on the music industry.

Streaming services like Spotify and satellite radios do pay royalties to the artists who perform the songs when they broadcast them.

AM and FM radio are the only ones that don’t, and that costs the US economy and artists $200 million a year, Esteban said.

Against this, the National Association of Broadcasting (NAB), which represents more than 5,200 stations, argues that AM and FM radios cannot bear the cost of copyright.

Its president and executive adviser, Curtis LeGeyt, said this Wednesday before the committee of the Lower House that the initiative "American Music Fairness Act" could jeopardize the survival of smaller radios, which help local communities with service information and warnings of potential weather emergencies.

The initiative, however, includes exceptions for smaller stations and those located in educational centers.

Specifically, it establishes that radio stations that have an annual income of less than 1.5 million dollars will pay 500 dollars in royalties and the smallest ones, with annual profits that do not reach 100,000 dollars, will only have to face one rate of 10 dollars per year.

The legislative project was presented last summer by Democratic legislator Ted Deutch and Republican Darrell Issa. Although it has not yet been considered in the Senate, it has received the support of important members of both parties in the Lower House.

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