New legislation proposed in the United States Senate could give East Tennessee songwriters more money for their work.
The bill is called the Songwriters Equity Act. Tennessee Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander joined with Utah Senator Orrin Hatch to introduce the legislation in Nashville Monday.
The Songwriters Equity Act would increase royalty payments for songwriters, allowing them to receive compensation that is equal to the fair market value of their songs. A federal rate court would help determine how much an artist would be paid.
Read the Legislation: House Version of 'Songwriters Equity Act'
The bill would also do away with government copyright rules that only allow songwriters to receive 9.1 cents every time their song is played or purchased by the public.
"Their paychecks ought to be based on the fair market value of their songs, so that when they write a hit heard around the world, you can see it in their billfolds," said Alexander.
East Tennessee songwriter John Condrone has worked on many musical projects. He wrote "If You Stole My Heart," a number one hit, for the singer Kim Simon.
VIDEO: Interview with Raymond Scott, attorney for the band Kiss
Executive Producer Nathan Higgins interviews Raymond Scott, attorney of the band Kiss, about the Songwriters Equity Act.
He told WBIR 10News he would be happy to see songwriters be paid more for their work.
"We deserve a raise, like anybody else," he said.
More Information: Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival
Cyndy Montgomery Reeves directs the Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival. She agreed that the proposed legislation is a change that's long overdue.
"They're the low man on the totem pole," Montgomery Reeves said. "They write the song, and look where the songs go, they make the record companies, labels, billions of dollars."
Montgomery Reeves collects information from songwriters across the country about how much money they're making off their songs. She gave WBIR 10News several examples of how things are working under the current law:
Songwriter Desmond Child made $110.42 from January to March 2012 for writing the song "Living on a Prayer". It was played more than 6 million times on Pandora during that time period.
Songwriter Linda Perry made $349.16 from January to March 2012 for writing the song "Beautiful". It was played more than 12 million times on Pandora during that time period.