The proposed Classics Act is trying to clear up the digital-licensing status of songs recorded before 1972. When it was introduced earlier this year, we noted that Pandora was supporting the bill, in stark contrast to satellite-radio firm SiriusXM – despite the latter now being one of its main investors.
Now SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer has written an op-ed piece for Billboard explaining his opposition to the legislation.
“The Classics Act does not ‘primarily affect’ digital audio services, it only affects digital audio services. Congress has again specifically exempted terrestrial radio from any payment obligation to the artists that the Classics Act purports to champion,” wrote Meyer, in a piece suggesting that “terrestrial radio, a $15 billion industry, has set the stage to tilt the playing field in its favour”.
He was careful to stress that SiriusXM is not trying to avoid paying artists, but rather that it wants terrestrial radio to pay for pre-1972 recordings too.
“During the same period that SiriusXM paid $2.2 billion for its use of post-72 works, terrestrial radio paid them nothing,” he wrote, adding that “unlike other digital audio services that support the Classics Act [oof!] SiriusXM has also already paid the record industry over $235 million dollars for historic and future uses of pre-1972 recordings” – this through direct deals with labels.