SESAC, The National Music Publishers’ Association, the Nashville Songwriters Association International, and the Songwriters of North America released a joint statement Thursday in support of the Music Modernization Act. The groups stated that the MMA improves how songwriters are paid by digital streaming services. “The bill creates a single mechanical licensing entity which will establish an open, transparent copyright ownership database that will be overseen by music publishers and songwriters and paid for by digital services.”
The joint release also said that at the encouragement of Senators involved in the legislation, the parties have endorsed a provision under consideration by the Senate to amend the Mechanical Licensing Collective’s administration of voluntary licenses outside the scope of the Section 115 compulsory license in order to ensure private vendors can continue to participate in the music market, maintaining competition which is beneficial to songwriters and producers.
The MMA has passed both the entire House of Representatives and Senate Judiciary Committee and now only needs full Senate approval.
Broadcasters are happy this bill will formalize congressional oversight of the Department of Justice’s review of the antitrust consent decrees governing ASCAP and BMI. “Unwarranted changes or termination of these decrees that form the backbone of the music licensing marketplace would have a drastic impact on all who publicly perform music, from local broadcast stations, to digital music services, to bars and restaurants, ultimately restricting access to music and harming consumers.” The broadcasters say by establishing meaningful congressional oversight of DOJ’s review, the MMA will help prevent the marketplace chaos that would result from DOJ seeking termination of these decrees without a sufficient alternative framework in place.
The broadcasters are also happy the MMA does not include any new performance royalty on AM/FM radio.