Music Stars Form Lobbying Group to Protect Artists from Big Tech

The Associated Press
Amy Harris/AP

Music stars Dave Matthews, Don Henley and Maren Morris are joining a new coalition lobbying for artists’ rights — the Music Artists Coalition (MAC) — that claims to represent artists’ interests across the Internet, according to a Monday-published report by Bloomberg.

Billboard described the lobbying group — which includes Don Henley, Meghan Trainor, Shane Mcanally and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Verdine White — as “a new organization established to advocate for and protect artists’ rights.”

Federal regulations partly determine musicians’ earnings, explained Bloomberg News:

Musicians depend on federal courts and Congress to determine much of their pay. Federal consent decrees govern how much bars, radio stations and restaurants must shell out for songs. And copyright judges determine the rates big streaming services must pay songwriters for a separate license. Legislation also shields technology companies from liability for the proliferation of pirated music.

Henley told Billboard:

Artists decide their musical fate every time they write a song or step on stage. Their true fate — the ability to protect their music — is being decided by others … bureaucrats, government legislators, and the powerful digital gatekeepers. We are forming the Music Artists Coalition to ensure that there is an organization whose sole mission is to protect the rights of music artists — performers and songwriters.

Matthews said via a statement, “Emerging artists deserve the same opportunity that many of us had — to be able to make a living creating music. It’s important for today’s musicians to pave the way for those in the future.”

Irving Azoff, manager of the Eagles, Gwen Stefani, and Travis Scott, will also join the MAC directorship board. He told Bloomberg News, “Artists don’t really have a seat at any table. Just the fact that we have a powerful group of people will scare everyone else to the table.”

Susan Genco, described as an “industry veteran” by Bloomberg News, characterized MAC as the lobbying advocate for artists’ interests. 

“We want state and national legislatures to know that if you want a true artist’s perspective, not one that may be compromised, this is the organization you call,” Genco said. “This is for artists, by artists and from artists.”

YouTube, owned by Google, built its dominance of online video-sharing via copyright infringement, explained Patrick Courrielche in a twopart series of his storytelling podcast series Red Pilled America.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.

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