Hello Senator Duckworth,
My name is Kevin Cronin. I was born and raised in Illinois (and proud of it) and I am the lead singer, producer, and principal songwriter for my band, REO Speedwagon. REO was formed in a dorm at the University of Illinois in Champaign, and has gone on to tour the world and sell over forty million albums. The band just completed our 2018 U.S. tour in front of sold-out arenas and amphitheaters, including over 16,000 fans at the Allstate Arena (formerly the Rosemont Horizon). We are greatly honored to have just been voted the Number One Musician in the History of the State of Illinois as part of the Bicentennial Celebration, and will be performing at the United Center this coming December. Without the songs, none of this would have been possible.
I am writing to you today to ask you to co-sponsor the Music Modernization Act.
I am lucky to have grown up in an era of music where our great country’s copyright laws not only fully protected the intellectual property of us songwriters, but also ensured a fair division of the income derived from our works. Unfortunately, in this day of music “streaming” all that has changed. Those who established the original copyright acts could not possibly have foreseen the advances in technology that have resulted in the current methods of delivering music to the public. Rather than buying a physical album at an actual store, fans now simply sign up for a “streaming service” which provides them with any music they want for a monthly fee.
Streaming services only exist as a result of the songs which they stream, but because the existing copyright laws have not kept pace with the advance of technology, the Spotifys, Pandoras, and Sirius XMs of the world have not been required to negotiate with songwriters for a fair, market based royalty rate. It would be nice if the streaming services had simply done the right thing, and equitably compensated songwriters out of a sense of fairness. But these are businesses which are looking out for only their own interests; if they have a chance to take advantage of legal loopholes, they will.
Simply put, we need your help. The Music Modernization Act unanimously passed the House of Representatives, but is still in need of support in the Senate. This law serves to level the playing field for songwriters in the digital age, as well as fixes a loophole that digital radio services have used to withhold compensation from artists whose music was released before 1972. Classic artists such as Dionne Warwick, The Doors, The Mamas and The Papas receive nothing for their pre-1972 works.
As a person who feels deeply that one of the jobs of government is to look out for citizens who are being ignored or taken unfair advantage of, I have noticed that you are a caring and fair-minded lawmaker. I feel proud that my home state has sent two progressive thinkers in yourself and Senator Durbin to represent the high road and our finer selves in Washington DC.
I can only imagine how busy you must be in this turbulent political climate. On behalf of the American songwriting community I deeply appreciate your time, and hope you might consider taking on this important cause. I would love a moment with you to discuss this issue further and answer any questions you might have. I am not exaggerating when I say that the future of new music in our country hangs in the balance.
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