HomeAbout JimConstituent ServicesIssues & LegislationNews
Music & Entertainment PDF Print E-mail
Tennessee's 5th District is home to Nashville, also known as Music City, USA.  Music is the lifeblood of Nashville, and it's everywhere you turn in our city.  We've got it all: recording artists, musicians, songwriters, record labels, manufacturers, retailers, and service providers.  Visitors comefrom far and wide to enjoy our musical culture, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and our rich Motown heritage in the Jefferson Street Music District. 

Nashville continues to be the place to go if one wants to pursue a career in music, and thousands headthere annually with nothing but a guitar and a dream.  That's why sound music policy is so importantto Nashville, and why it is one of my top priorities.   

Intellectual property is almost exclusively the subject of federal legislation, and music policy that affects us locally is hatched in Washington, D.C.   I'm a strong supporter of intellectual property rights and rights-holders and believe that intellectual property laws need reevaluating when significant new technologies reach the marketplace. 

My goal is to make sure any new laws serve the public's interest in progress, civic discourse, investment and innovation.

I'm a co-sponsor of the Performance Rights Act to make sure our performers receive compensation for their hard work.  I've also supported the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2007, also known as the PRO-IP Act, which strengthens theenforcement measures available to intellectual property owners and stiffens thepenalties for those who break the law.


September 23, 2010 Wireless microphone users won a major victory today as the FCC announced its decision to protect them from interference from new "white space devices". Jim has been an advocate of such action for a long time. "Music is a lifeline to Nashville's economy," he said, "and the live music industry depends more than ever on wireless microphones and other equipment to connect the artist with the audience."

August 30, 2010 Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Nashville to discuss intellectual property with music industry leaders and local officials.

April 1, 2010 Today the Performance Rights Act got a major boost with an endorsement from the Department of Commerce.  In their letter, the Commerce Department reiterated their long held support for recognizing a performance right  in a sound recording stating: "the Performance Rights Act addresses the long-standing omission in U.S. copyright law that may have harmed American performers and record companies."  Read the full letter here.  The Administration now joins the chorus of those that believe in fair compensation in exchange for the use of copyrighted works.  It is an important step that puts us one step closer to passage.  I look forward to voting for the Performance Rights Act soon.  

March 28, 2010 An interesting article in today's Tennessean should get the attention of all area artists and musicians.  Soundexchange is the performance rights organization that administers all the rights for sound recording performances, similar to BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC that administer the rights for musical works.  Every artist and musician should be registered with Soundexchange because you may be owed royalty payments that you have not received.  Check out the Tennessean article and the artist page at Soundexchange and make sure you are getting paid when your work is getting played!   

December 14, 2009  In the last two weeks, twomajor interest groups have come out in favor of the Performance Rights Act, theAFL-CIO and the American Bar Association.

American Bar Association Support for Performance Rights Act

AFLCIO Support for Performance Rights Act

October 26, 2009  Jim wrote an articleentitled "It's Time to Correct a Creative Injustice" which appeared in today'sedition of Roll Call.  Jim wrote thisarticle along with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz(D-FL), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).  These Members represent different parts ofthe country and have very different political, philosophical and professionalbackgrounds.  When these five Membersagree on such a crucial issue as the Performance Rights Act, you know they areon the right side of history. 

You may view the fullarticle here

October 15, 2009  Today the Senate JudiciaryCommittee approved the Performance Rights Act with strong bi-partisansupport.  The Committee made someimportant changes to the bill which brings it largely in line with the Houseversion of which Jim is a cosponsor.  Forinstance, small broadcasters will now pay as little as $100 annually forunlimited rights to sound recordings and the bill contains strong language toprotect our songwriters. 

October 8, 2009  Today the House ofRepresentatives passed a Resolution Recognizing that country music has made atremendous contribution to American life and culture and declaring countrymusic to be a uniquely American art form.  Jim co-sponsored the measure which, among other things, recognized that"no institution is more closely associated with country music than WSM Radio'sGrand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee,which, since 1925, has introduced the United States to many of the greattalents of country music through live Saturday night performances."

July 7, 2009  Today Jim was pleasedlearn that record labels and online music providers have reached a rateagreement. This agreement was made possible by the recent passage of theWebcaster Settlement Act of 2009 in the House of Representatives.  Jim was supportive of that Act and has thisto say about this historic agreement: "Online music companies and record labelsreaching an agreement is great news.  Thenegotiated rates will let new media grow and prosper while ensuring that ourlocal artists are paid for their work. Everyone wins when music fans can listento songs online and music makers get a fair deal.  Our music industry will only be successful byworking with new media companies to build business models for the 21st century.Today's news is music to my ears."

May 29, 2009  Today Jim became acosponsor of a resolution celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Juneas "Black Music Month."  The resolution recognizes the invaluablecontributions of African-American artists to America's rich culturallandscape.  In 1979, President JimmyCarter recognized the far-reaching impact that African-Americans have made tomusic by proclaiming the Month of June as "Black Music Month."  He further encouraged everyone to learn moreabout the role that Black music has played in shaping history and culture.  As we approach June, Jim hopes that you willjoin him in celebrating Black Music Month. 

May 13, 2009  The Performance Rights Act(H.R. 848) took a major step forward today: it was approved by the HouseJudiciary Committee by a vote of 21-9. Some much needed changes were made to the bill prior to the vote thatwill help protect smaller broadcasters. The Act now scales down the royalty payments based upon the size of theradio station, all the way down to $500 a year for the smallest radio stations.  It also delays the imposition of royaltypayments for nearly all radio stations for 3 years so they will have time toplan for the adjustment.  Additionally,the bill makes an attempt to bring parity to performance royalties across allplatforms - terrestrial radio, cable, satellite, and internet services.  Jim has been advocating for many of today'schanges since the time he decided to co-sponsor the Act.  He looks forward to supporting the Act whenit comes up for a full House vote.

April 20, 2009  Jim wrote an op-ed on thecurrent state of the music industry in today's Nashville City Paper entitled"WHEN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY SUFFERS, WE ALL SUFFER".  A copy of the article is located here .

February 20, 2009  Today at the MusicFIRSTtownhall meeting in Nashville,Jim announced that he will be a co-sponsor the Performance Rights Act, H.R.848.  Currently, every time a song isplayed on terrestrial radio the songwriter is compensated but the artist isnot.  The Performance Rights Act wouldchange that, and would compensate artists for songs played on the radio, aright that is enjoyed by artists and copyright owners in most countries outsideof the United States.  Our artists, musicians, and record labelslose out millions of dollars in reciprocal revenue each year because of thisanomaly.

In today's changing music environment, thePerformance Rights Act is an appropriate step in the right direction, and Jimis confident that the House version of the bill will not hurt Nashville's songwriters.  However, there are still a number ofimprovements to be made to the Performance Rights Act.  Small-town, independent radio should not bedisproportionately harmed by the change in royalty structure. Congress needs toensure that those interests are considered before we pass a bill that mightdeprive listeners of music on the radio.
Help With Federal Agencies
Do you need help with a federal agency? My office is here for you.

Please click here to see how my office can help you.