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Dionne Warwick has become a Twitter sensation since going live last year. Dionne has kept us in stitches with her nicknames for people like Billie Eilish (William Eyelash) and the unlikely friendship she struck up with Teyana Taylor, whom she wants to play her in a biopic. Now, Dionne has written an op-ed for USA Today, calling for radio to pay for play to artists whose music that they are making millions off of. In the op-ed Dionne breaks down why radio stations should pay to play music and why not doing so is unfair and unethical. Below a few highlights via Yahoo!:
I’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry since I got my start – most good, some bad – but disappointingly one thing has remained the same: Radio stations still aren’t paying artists for their work.
These stations – most of which are now owned by a few multibillion dollar media corporations – get away with using musicians’ work to bring listeners to their stations, allowing them to charge advertisers huge amounts of money, without ever paying performers a penny.
And here’s the worst part: It’s all legal. Our outdated laws – made decades ago in very different times and kept intact today by lobbyists for the biggest corporate broadcasters – say all this is OK.
But it’s not OK. It’s unfair and unjust – and it’s time for things to change.
For too long, I accepted this status quo. Radio stations would play my chart-topping music without offering me any compensation for it, and I would frustratingly think, “I suppose this is just how it is and always will be.”
Radio stations once were able to hide behind the idea that they were virtuously exposing musicians to the masses, spurring sales of physical recordings and concert tickets. This isn’t the case anymore.
First, artists cannot depend solely on record sales for income – in the first half of 2020, only 7% of music revenue came from physical sales – and the pandemic proved we cannot rely on concerts and touring either.
Second, hardly anyone is discovering new music through traditional FM/AM radio stations these days. A recent survey shows a majority of Americans use streaming services like Sirius XM or Spotify, or digital platforms like YouTube or TikTok to discover new artists and songs. Recently, both old fans and new have found me on Twitter, bringing my music and my passion for making it to great new audiences.
I absolutely agree with Auntie Dionne. Most radio stations are conglomerates of multimedia corporations and therefore they can definitely afford to pay musicians. I also agree that if streaming platforms can pay artists, again so can radio stations. Anyways with mostly everything going digital, I personally believe in the next 20 years or so radio stations will be obsolete or will evolve into a new media. I also agree that it is unethical for radio stations to have free reign over artists’ content without having to pay for it. I get flagged on Youtube or kicked off of Twitter when I play a 30 second clip of an artist because of copyright infringement. I also like how Dionne points out that radio stations used to be able to hide behind the lie that they were exposing artists but most people don’t listen to radio these days. I haven’t actively listened to radio in damn near two decades. All in all, I can get behind Dionne’s campaign for artists getting paid for their work. It is time that the playing field is leveled.
For those asking, yes, I am performing in Europe next year. pic.twitter.com/bDEaPiXT48
— Dionne Warwick (@dionnewarwick) July 26, 2021
— Dionne Warwick (@dionnewarwick) July 19, 2021
Photos credit: Avalon.red and Getty