Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

Paul Williams on Music Royalty Policies

486402937 445x313 Paul Williams on Music Royalty Policies

Williams at the 2014 ASCAP Pop Music Awards. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Grammy/Oscar/Golden Globe winner Paul Williams, who also happens to be president and chairman of the board of performance-rights organization ASCAP, writes in a commentary piece for Roll Call today that he and other members of the group (including Randy Newman and Carly Simon) will be in Washington this week “to help policymakers understand why we must modernize our music licensing system” in the age of Pandora, Spotify and ubiquitous mobile devices.

The rules haven’t been updated since 2001, Williams notes, before the invention of the iPod. “As a result of these outdated laws, record labels and recording artists routinely earn 12 to 14 times more than songwriters for the exact same stream of a song,” he writes. “And big music companies like Pandora rake in millions in revenue, while many music creators struggle to pay the bills.”

Williams cites legislation introduced by Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., earlier this year, as well as ongoing efforts by the House Judiciary Committee to examine the issue. Williams’ commentary is essentially a condensed version of a speech he gave last week in Los Angeles, where he name-checked numerous other lawmakers, including Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va.

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