Living Wage For Musicians Act: Congress Reads New Bill Forcing Streaming Services Pay 1 Cent Per Stream

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Congressional representatives Rashida Tlaib and Jamaal Bowman dropped the proposed Living Wage for Musicians Act on Thursday, aiming to up streaming royalties for musicians online.

In partnership with the United Musicians and Allied Workers union, the resolution seeks “economic justice and fairness in streaming,” according to a release from Tlaib’s office.

The act would usher in a fresh streaming royalty, aiming to compensate artists and musicians more fairly at a penny per stream when their music hits streaming services. Currently, the leading music platform, Spotify, shells out a measly average per-stream royalty of $0.003, meaning artists must rack up 800,000 monthly streams to match a full-time $15/hour job.

The proposed royalty would be an add-on to existing royalties, guaranteeing artists at least one cent per stream with a potential monthly profit cap. The extra payouts would be funded via a tax on non-subscription revenue from streaming platforms and a slight bump in the cost of music streaming subscriptions.

Representing Detroit, Tlaib stated in a release, “Detroit’s artists have revolutionized the music industry and our culture in countless ways. It’s only fair that the folks who create the music we groove to get their fair cut, so they can thrive, not just survive.” Bowman, repping the Bronx in New York and founder of the Congressional Hip-Hop Task Force, chimed in, saying, “It’s downright wrong that an artist needs over a thousand streams of their song just to buy a cup of coffee. Artists nationwide deserve to get paid for their craft.”

This isn’t Tlaib and Bowman’s first rodeo together. They previously joined forces in 2022, introducing a similar resolution pushing for economic justice and fairness in streaming.