When you’re listening to vintage recordings on digital radio services, it makes a huge difference to the people who played on them whether they were made before or after February 15, 1972. If Pandora or SiriusXM play a track from, say, Lou Reed’s Transformer, which he recorded that summer, his estate and the performers will get a modest royalty. But when Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” beams soulful grit across the digital ether, the Reverend gets a check only for his share of the songwriting. Clearly, he should’ve waited to cut the record until after Valentine’s Day.
The Future of Music Coalition, an advocacy group for musicians, said that while it would like the law to go further, the bill is still a positive step. “Recording artists should be paid for the use of their work,” said Casey Rae, VP of policy and education at FMC, in a statement. “And the best way to do this is for Congress to follow the recommendation of the U.S. Copyright Office and federalize pre-1972 copyrights.”