Otis Redding sat on the dock of the bay in 1967. Roy Orbison sang for the lonely in 1960. Miles Davis was kind of blue in 1959. These artists’ iconic recordings live on today and are frequently played across streaming services, satellite radio, and FM radio.
While Redding, Orbison, and Davis have passed away, their estates are among many still fighting for fairness. That’s because they recorded classic songs and albums before the date of the great music divide: Feb. 15, 1972.
An oversight in copyright law left recordings made before this date unprotected. Nearly every music service in the U.S. has discovered that this means they don’t have to pay for pre-’72 music, so they don’t. Most music from before 1972 is thus not paid for when it is played on digital radio, satellite radio, and, obviously, terrestrial radio.