In an unprecedented show of solidarity, some 150 artists and executives, including Paul McCartney, Don Henley, Carole King, Katy Perry, U2’s The Edge, Pink, Sia and hitmaker Max Martin, have signed a letter addressed to the board members of Liberty Media, corporate parent to SiriusXM. At issue: The satellite radio giant’s opposition to Music Modernization Act, which is thisclose to passing in the Senate. Specifically: SiriusXM has raised objections to portions of the bill, which aims to protect recordings released before 1972 from falling out of copyright protection, including the exclusion of terrestrial radio from mandatory payouts to rights holders.
Says attorney Dina LaPolt, one of several advocates working on behalf of the MMA (as an attorney-advisor to SONA, or Songwriters of North America), in a statement to Variety: “As we continue to move from a product based business to a service based business, bringing the antiquated copyright act into the digital realm, SiriusXM’s unwillingness to support songwriters and artists is complete travesty given that every other group in the music industry has endorsed the bill. This shows their disgusting corporate greed at the expense of America’s greatest treasures..…. our legacy artists.”
Adds Ross Golan, songwriter and host of the popular podcast “And the Writer Is…”: “The music community is standing in solidarity like never before. In only 48 hours, 200 legends put their name on the line to show that we are not just music. We are an army. This letter is only a warning shot.”
The Music Modernization Act is scheduled to be “hotlined” today by the Senate — at which point any Senator has 24 hours in which to object to the bill passing out of the Senate without an official vote (Senate leadership does this for bills with high cosponsor counts that they know would sail through if a vote was forced or needed) — the legislation is facing one final hurdle in the form of objection by SiriusXM.
The letter, which was also signed by Carly Simon, Ryan Tedder, Charlie Puth, Gloria and Emilio Estefan as well as Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, and members of The Doors and the Mamas and the Papas, is addressed to SiriusXM chairman of the board Greg Maffei, programming chief Scott Greenstein and CEO Jim Meyer along with the Liberty Media board members. The endorsement of so many top artists represents a credible threat to the business of SiriusXM’s music channels, particularly as it involves specialty programs — for instance, the Beatles channel, among the most popular of SiriusXM’s offerings.
The MMA bill was passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee in June following a unanimous approval of similar legislation by the House of Representatives a month earlier.
Read the letter to SiriusXM in its entirety below, and read SiriusXM’s response here:
Dear Greg Maffei, Scott Greenstein and Jim Meyer and Liberty Media Board of Directors Evan D. Malone, David E. Rapley, Larry E. Romrell, Brian M. Deevy, Andrea L. Wong, Robert R. Bennett, M. Ian G. Gilchrist and John C. Malone:
I’m writing you with grave concern about SiriusXM’s opposition to the Music Modernization Act (Classics Act included).
I’m CCing some of the greatest songwriters and artists in the history of the music business to show our solidarity in support of this legislation in its current form. We are all aware of your company’s objections and trepidation but let me say that this is an opportunity for SiriusXM to take a leadership position. As you are aware, 415 Representatives and 76 Senators have already cosponsored the MMA along with industry consensus. It’s SiriusXM vs all of us. We can either fight to the bitter end or celebrate this victory together. Rather than watch bad press and ill will pile up against SiriusXM, why not come out supporting the most consequential music legislation in 109 years? We do not want to fight and boycott your company but we will as we have other opponents. Stand with us! Be brave and take credit for being the heroes who helped the MMA become historic law! Momentum is building against SiriusXM and you still have an opportunity to come out on the right side of history. We look forward to your endorsement but the fire is burning and only you can put this out.
Ross Golan and Legends CC-ed Here
Sir Paul McCartney
OneRepublic: Ryan Tedder
Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow band)
Bird and The Bee: Inara George
Eurythmics: Dave Stewart
Garbage: Shirley Manson
Gloria & Emilio Estefan
Hootie & the Blowfish: Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Dean Felber and Jim Sonefeld
Jefferson Airplane: Grace Slick, Jorma Kaukonen, and Jack Casady
KC and The Sunshine Band: Harry Casey
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds
Little Feet: Lowell George Estate
Rascal Flatts: Gary LeVox
Semisonic: Dan Wilson
Sonic Youth: Kim Gordon
The Doors: John Densmore Robby Krieger
The Mamas And The Papas: Michelle Phillips
The Pixies: Joey Santiago
The Pretenders: Chrissie Hynde
Tom Higgenson: Plain White T’s
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Karen O and Nick Zinner
Cynthia Weil & Barry Man
Doc Pomus Estate
James Newton Howard
Richard Jay Alexander
Aaron Bay Schuck
Alastair Lloyd Webber
Big Deal Music
Milk And Honey
Mega House Music Mgmt.