US Senate passes Music Modernization Act

A first reform for Music Licensing in more than 20 years has been approved unanimously by the US Senate and will soon become a law. The Music Modernization Act (MMA) was  passed by the House on Sept 18th and must be approved again and signed by President Trump in order to become a reality.



What is the Music Modernization Act?

The Music Modernization Act of 2018, S.2334 is a copyright legislation which will benefit the right holders and streamline the entire Licensing process. This Act will lead to the formation of a body represented by the Publishers who administer the mechanical licensing of Music on streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and more.

Due to this reform it will be easier for the right holders to get paid once their music is streamed online. There will also be a formation of an extensive database funded by major Publishers and digital service providers. It will also change the current procedure by which millions of songs are made available for streaming. This is the first time Producers of the original music are mentioned in the bill.

Song reproduction charges have also been updated, to reflect market rates, and sound recording royalty rates will also be taken into account when considering performance royalty rates for songwriters and composers.

As in the House, the Senate bill combines three separate pieces of legislation:

– The Music Modernization Act of 2018, S.2334, introduced by Hatch and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in January, which updates licensing and royalties as pertains to streaming.

– The CLASSICS Act (or Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society Act), introduced in February by Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Kennedy (R-LA) to ensure that songwriters and artists receive royalties on pre-1972 songs.

– The AMP Act  (or Allocation for Music Producers Act), introduced in March by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley(R-LA) and ranking committee member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA.) with the support of and Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

Issue with SiriusXM

Since the past six months online radio SiriusXM has been pushing back against the Music Modernization Act stating that it treats the satellite radio company unfairly when compared to its competition. After many negotiations SiriusXM put out a press release announcing a deal had been struck and the company was happy the legislation had been approved by the Senate.

“We are pleased to join with the music community in sponsoring amendments that protect artists in this legislation,” Liberty Media President and CEO Greg Maffei said in a statement. “It is important that the music industry move forward so that artists can showcase their work throughout the United States.”

SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer added, “SiriusXM is a platform that respects and actively supports artists and all music creators, and we are delighted to have reached this agreement to help pass this bill.”

On the other side of the table, RIAA President Mitch Glazier said, “We are pleased that SiriusXM and the music community have come to an agreement that ensures the protection of artists, songwriters, publishers, labels, producers, and all music creators who will benefit from this long-sought, consensus legislation.”



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