Local artists fight for their rights


Each time that hit, new tune gets aired on the radio, is another time that that hardworking artist does not get paid. Many are unaware of the injustice occurring behind the scenes of the radio industry, and Chico will be taking a stand to protect the rights of such musicians, Feb. 24 at the 1078 gallery.

United States broadcasting networks gives “performance royalties” each time a song is aired, to the corresponding songwriter as a way to give them fair pay and recognition. However, the performer and their record label are excluded from this revenue, unless, they themselves are the songwriter. Since the radio is an excellent and efficient platform to popularize an artist’s music, it feels cheap to not reward their work as well.

“We are one of the only democratic countries in the world that do not pay our artists for radio. Aretha Franklin has never been paid once for her song ‘Respect’ (written by Otis Redding) when it’s aired on the radio,” said MAWD. “It is important to address this issue so that people are encouraged to pursue a career in music, instead of considering it a pipe dream. Music shouldn’t be created only by the rich, because they can simply afford to do it as a profession. It isn’t fair and it isn’t right.”

SOTA Productions will host an Artists’ Rights Rally, which will consist of a concert featuring artists like Janita, KLEZ, Mawd, Justin Kolas, and Blake Morgan, a well-respected artist and activist that will also give a speech.


Morgan has worked tirelessly in an effort to amend this wrongful system. What began as the online campaign #IRespectMusic, has evolved into a movement. Through an overwhelming amount of support, Morgan has earned the opportunity to work alongside a committee of Congresspersons to craft a bill called “Fair Play, Fair Pay,” which will give performers equal pay. To help pass the bill, Morgan still needs to rally more support and awareness on the issue. SOTA’s Artists’ Rights Rally is one of the many events needed to keep this revolution rolling forward.

“Whether or not you’re part of any music community, the chances are pretty good that you love music and that it binds you in some way to the people you know. That means that when an artist can’t afford to make music it effects all of us,” said SOTA Productions PR Team Leader, Aric Jeffries. “If you want to make a difference wherever you live, then call or write your representative and urge them to support the ‘Fair Play, Fair Pay Act.’ Of course, you can also attend events like our rally and invite your friends who might not know how to help. That way you get to listen to great music and support a good cause at the same time.”

Tickets are $7 and are being sold online through SOTA Production’s Facebook page and at the door as well. Doors will be open at 7 p.m., and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24. Come join these passionate artists in a historical effort to earn equal pay for all American musical performers.

Anisha Brady can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.