Another rich and powerful interest is begging Washington for special privileges under the guise of helping the little guy. This isn’t all that new. We saw this in the aftermath of the 2008 recession when the big banks argued for greater financial regulations that would have limited their future competition to “protect the interests of everyday Americans.” Or so they said. This is akin to some of the wealthiest individuals and American companies who are selling economically questionable “green” energy initiatives…that just happen to pad their bottom line. And now, we’re seeing it again from the super-wealthy record labels, shamelessly pushing a new money-making scheme that will limit artist promotion and exposure to — you guessed it — “preserve the integrity of the music industry.”
The record labels claim that by imposing a new fee on radio airplay, their bill — The American Music Fairness Act — will ensure that “artists get the compensation they deserve.” The problem with this assertion is that the labels themselves are what’s wrong with artists’ revenue streams today. They have been for a long time.
Nearly twenty years ago, the late Michael Jackson made this point crystal clear when he said, “The recording companies really, really do conspire against the artists — they steal, they cheat.” Around that same time, the Dixie Chicks agreed, accusing their label of “systematic thievery” by underpaying the band $4 million in royalties they were entitled to.
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