​New US bill could allow artists to “negotiate fairer rates” with streaming platforms

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A revisited version of the Protect Working Musicians Act, which was first introduced in 2021, could allow independent artists in the US to negotiate “fairer rates” with major streaming platforms, Billboard reports.

The congressional bill has been updated by Rep. Deborah Ross of North Carolina – but is yet to pass the US House. If it does, artists could be given the chance to collectively bargain with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music for better royalty rates.

The bill also takes a look at AI-generated music and its effect on artists. “AI threatens the creator — finding the person or entity that has co-opted your work and turned it into something else and then going after them is so onerous,” Rep. Deborah Ross told Billboard.

Read this next: Google and Universal Music in talks regarding ‘AI deepfake’ royalties

“That’s one of the reasons for this bill — to allow people to do this collaboratively. We need to do this sooner than later. We’re seeing this threat every single day.”

The bill’s focus on AI-mimicking follows a recent explosion in ‘deepfaked’ songs, such as the recent AI-generated track ‘Heart On My Sleeve’ which clones the voices of The Weeknd and Drake. Streaming service Deezer is now making efforts to ‘detect and delete’ tracks that mimic artist’s voices and likeness.

The revised iteration of the Protect Working Musicians Act will also help artists land fairer rates through streaming services, as they currently risk violating antitrust laws if they attempt to negotiate.

Read this next: Government agrees to establish working group to investigate fair pay for artists

“This bill will protect NC’s outstanding artists who play a vital role in our state’s culture & economy,” Ross explained in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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