Under the current system, there is no way for a recording artist to be guaranteed payment in all 50 states. Instead, they are captive to a patchwork of inconsistent and ultimately unworkable state laws – denying them millions in royalties for their older songs.
For the last several years, the music business has been unified over one thing: SiriusXM and other digital-radio services must pay royalties for recordings made before 1972.
Long viewed as somewhat of an antagonist to record labels, digital music service Pandora has found common ground with them on policy issues in recent months.
Pandora announced last year that it supports paying artists of pre-1972 songs their digital royalties and has made closing the loophole one of its 2017 policy priorities.
New York’s highest appeals court ruled Tuesday that radio companies like SiriusXM need not pay to play so-called pre-1972 recordings over the air, a huge reversal in a years-long effort by record labels and artists to win new royalties from the old tracks.