Dionne Warwick: No radio royalties for performers due to 'flat-out procrastination' by Congress

Pop music legend wants Congress to pass the bipartisan American Music Fairness Act to require FM radio stations to pay royalties to recording artists and musicians.

Legendary recording artist Dionne Warwick says "flat-out procrastination" by politicians on Capitol Hill over many years is the main reason why recording artists and musicians still do not collect royalties from AM/FM radio.

Songwriters, not musicians or vocalists, are paid royalties for the music played on AM/FM radio.

"Procrastination, just flat out procrastination," Warwick, a five-time Grammy Award winner, said during an interview after the bipartisan American Music Fairness Act was unveiled. "It should have happened 60 years ago when it was brought to the attention of Congress in the Senate by Frank Sinatra and, for whatever reason, they feigned that they did not understand or did not know that we were not being paid, which is completely insane."

Warwick joined co-sponsors Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Capitol Hill to publicly support the legislation, which would require AM/FM radio stations to pay royalties to recording artists and musicians.

The bill would establish a performance royalty that would be paid to recording artists and musicians, a spokesperson for Deutch told Just the News. These recipients "would not get any portion of the songwriters' existing royalties."

"Just like internet and satellite companies pay both songwriters and performers, terrestrial radio would be required to pay both," the spokesperson said. "There are existing rate setting procedures for internet and satellite radio, so under the bill terrestrial radio would undergo that same process. And it is important to note that many of the terrestrial radio stations simulcast their stations over the internet — and pay royalties set under the internet radio rate settings — so they are already quite familiar with this process."

Warwick told Just the News that she wants to meet with President Biden about the legislation.

"Absolutely," she said. "I'd love to meet with him. I think that's something he would welcome. 

Deutch said the focus of the bill is fixing the music royalty system so that "going forward we don't ever have to have this conversation about fairness again."