Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib Moves to Create New Streaming Royalties: “We Have To Stop Taking Art For Granted”

The practice of underpaying artists for their streaming music has been going on for a while now. And, unfortunately, spreading awareness and enacting change on the issue has been slower than most in the music world would like.

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Tuesday, July 26, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib sought to change that.

In a draft document obtained by Rolling Stone, Tlaib—a U.S. House Representative for the state of Michigan—announced her intention to propose a new Congressional Resolution to “establish a new statutory royalty program.” Further, Representative Tlaib wrote that the Resolution will “provide musicians, whose recorded work is listened to on streaming music services, like Spotify, reasonable remuneration through a royalty payment earned on a per-stream basis.”

Rep. Tlaib has had her finger on the pulse of the music world for some time and works with the nonprofit Union of Musicians and Allied Workers. UMAW is an organization that fights for a “just music industry” and “join[s] with other workers in the struggle for a better society.” Most recently, the organization worked to provide Covid-19 relief for musicians.

But continuing with the matter at hand, Rep. Tlaib told Rolling Stone: “When we met [with UMAW] it was really clear how efforts to pay musicians fairly for their work tied in to so many different threads of justice we were already working on. We’ve worked with UMAW and artists to develop this resolution as a consciousness-builder and an organizing tool, to raise awareness amongst not only lawmakers but also just everyday streaming users about how when you listen to a song on Spotify and other platforms, the artist is being paid basically nothing. This is a step in the direction of creating a streaming royalty that pays musicians fairly for their labor.

“We have to stop taking art for granted. Many of the people who fill our lives with joy and creativity are also struggling to get by, and that’s in large part because of how corporations have stacked the deck to enrich themselves at the expense of the people creating that art,” Rep. Tlaib concluded.

Read more about UNAW HERE.

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