Congresswoman Ross Wants Indie Creators To Have Collective Bargaining With Streaming Platforms and AI Developers

 September 20, 2023

The Songwriters Guild of America, the Society of Composers & Lyricists and Music Creators North America applaud Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) for introducing legislation to provide independent songwriters, composers, lyricists, and other music creators the power to collectively negotiate with both streaming platforms and generative artificial intelligence (AI) developers for fair compensation.

Under the current law, independent musicians have little ability to bargain for market value rates for the use of their music by global streaming platforms and AI companies. Instead, we are forced to accept whatever terms are offered by these platforms, while also having almost no ability to engage with AI companies who routinely scrape and use our music without consent, credit or compensation. Congresswoman Ross’ legislation, entitled the Protect Working Musicians Act of 2023, would allow independent music artists to band together and collectively negotiate with large streaming platforms and AI developers, without fear of being sued under antitrust laws.

For years, SCL, SGA, and MCNA have championed American music as the backbone of U.S. entertainment exports to the rest of the world, a major foundation of America’s gross national product and, most importantly, a cultural touchstone beloved by people around the globe. Our creative endeavors power the music and audiovisual industries of America and add immeasurably to America’s prestige and influence.


With the exception of an extraordinarily small group of superstars, most musical artists are middle-class individuals being exploited by big business in today’s economy. Our lack of fair compensation is unsustainable. Despite investing in years of training and education, we are being paid less and less, while the giant streaming platforms and AI companies report record growth. This is because we are subject to monopsony conditions where one or a few firms control the markets for our work. We are customarily presented with one-sided contracts that are nonnegotiable or negotiable only around the edges, while increasingly we are forced to hand over more rights for the same or less money. We are outgunned and unable to negotiate fairer terms, hindering most of us from making sufficient earnings from our work. This not only
endangers our personal livelihoods, but the future of our creative professions. We simply want the right to negotiate and act collectively to work together and share information in order to ensure we are fairly paid.

For this reason, SGA, SCL and their affiliated North American music creator advocacy group, MCNA, wholeheartedly endorse Congresswoman Ross’ Protect Working Musicians Act. We will continue to work Congresswoman Ross and the rest of Congress to advance this bill to ensure our voices are heard and we receive fair pay for our work.

The bill text is available here.