READ: Future of Music Coalition's Casey Rae on the Promise of Rep. Doug Collins' Songwriter Equity Act

By Ian Holubiak on Feb 27, 2014 01:55 AM EST

Recently, Classicalite published some words from Gary Giddins about struggling jazz musicians in New York City. In dealing with similar plights for musicians around the nation, now Washington, D.C. appears to be making amends.

While places like Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon offer "perks" such as health insurance for musicians and artists, most other cities around the country do very little to accommodate their creative classes.

However, on February 25, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) introduced the Songwriter Equity Act, which hopes to level the playing field for songwriters, composers and publishers regarding fair use of their works.

Casey Rae--interim executive director for the Future of Music Coalition, the premiere non-profit organization for musicians' rights--issued the following words of advocacy:

"It is clear that songwriter and composer compensation is crucial to the health of the entire music ecosystem. Too often, songwriters are overlooked in the pitched debates about new business models and rightsholder royalties. Today's legislation is important to focusing the conversation on those creators whose talents help power the music marketplace.

We are glad that the major publishers and their trade representatives are not pushing for the elimination of a compulsory licensing framework which gives songwriters and composers leverage that they otherwise would lack. It remains to be seen whether a 'willing seller, willing buyer' standard for rate setting is the best way to achieve parity in today's royalty environment. Still, it is important for Congress to consider these matters, in addition to the glaring exemption that allows commercial radio to not pay performers and labels when their music is broadcast.

As Congress examines this and other issues, it will be necessary to hear the perspectives of actual songwriters and not just the small handful of powerful music publishing companies. Songwriters and composers can't be expected to fend for themselves--they're too important to the future of music."

Musicians may finally receive the compensation needed to maintain a living from royalties in an ever-digitalized world (which hinders appropriate recompense, Spotify being a major player in screwing us over). And that, ultimately, engenders a specific move in the right direction for the industry.

For once in their recent life, watch Congress actually do something.

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TagsCasey Rae, Doug Collins, Songwriter Equity Act, Future of Music Coalition

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