The Living Wage for Musicians Act, proposed by the United Musicians and Allied Workers and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, aims to assist address streaming royalties.

The United Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) is celebrating the introduction of Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Jamaal Bowman’s Living Wage for Musicians Act to Congress. The measure would establish a new streaming royalty to help artists and musicians build long-term careers in the age of streaming.

The Living Wage for Musicians Act would establish a new streaming royalty paid directly to musicians, circumventing the industry’s dominant actors who are primarily interested in market share and corporate profits. The new payment would supplement artists’ existing royalties.

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That royalty would be paid by platform subscription costs and a 10% levy on non-subscription earnings, and it is intended to ensure that artists receive at least one penny per stream – a sum calculated to give a livable salary for a working-class artist through streaming. The royalties would be paid out proportionally from a central pool, with a limit on how much an individual track might receive to guarantee a more balanced distribution of revenues.

“Streaming has changed the music industry, but it’s leaving countless artists struggling to make ends meet behind,” said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. “It’s only right that the people who create the music we love get their fair share, so that they can thrive, not just survive.”

The UMAW has launched a petition in support of the measure, urging all artists, music workers, musician advocacy groups, and independent labels to sign it.

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“There is a lot of talk in the industry about how to ‘fix’ streaming — but the streaming platforms and major labels have already had their say for more than a decade, and they have failed musicians,” Damon Krukowski, an organizer with the UMAW, stated.

“The Living Wage for Musicians Act proposes a fresh, artist-centered way to make streaming work for everyone, not just a few. We need to restore value to recordings by putting more money into the system, and we need to pay artists and musicians directly for streaming their work.”

“Our middle-class artists are leaving, as are our recording studios, resulting in a rapid deterioration of our music communities and culture across the country. The more we enable a few very wealthy power players to monopolize and find methods to reduce the amount of money musicians make from streaming, the more we will ruin our music scenes,” says mixing and mastering engineer Heba Kadry.

“I’m very grateful for Rashida’s work to bring overdue changes to the music industry that restore equity and a sense of value for musicians all over,” said Shigeto, a Detroit-based musician.

“Artists have been exploited since the beginning of digital streaming. The Living Wage for Musicians Act gives independent musicians a voice and has the potential to alter the lives of many artists by providing them with a steady source of income.