Since its inception, SAG-AFTRA has endeavored to bring protections to its singer and recording artist members. Some may be familiar with more recent actions the union has taken, including fighting for the recently passed Music Modernization Act, but the truth is, this work is part of the union’s legacy.
The SAG-AFTRA President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach & Engagement presented How SAG-AFTRA Helps to Create Music Legislation That Helps You on May 3. The recording was originally a virtual presentation hosted by the Berklee College of Music in Boston to its students and alumni. Providing an introduction was SAG-AFTRA Vice President, Recording Artists/Singers Janice Pendarvis, and leading the presentation was SAG-AFTRA General Counsel Jeffrey Bennett.
Bennett gave attendees a brief overview of SAG-AFTRA’s work as a union and delved into the efforts of its legacy union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, to protect recording artists. Opening with a timeline of early legislative actions, he went on to discuss the influence that digitization of music has had on the music business, the legislation protecting artists in the digital age, the strategic thinking behind the legislation, and more.
The presentation ended with an explanation of the American Music Fairness Act and its importance to recording artists and singers.
“There is no argument to say that people listen to AM/FM radio and then go buy [music]. We are well past the time where [stations]can say, ‘We don’t need to pay [artists]because we promote sales of their music,’” he said.