To date, The Music Modernization Act has the support of about 70 United States Senators, clearly enough to pass the bill. With government, of course, anything can happen. And, a lot of times, nothing happens. Being that this bill appears to have been changed by the Senate, the House would have to take up the measure again, and with mid-terms creeping up, that could mean further delay. Plus, Sirius XM Radio appears to be trying to block the bill — and their CEO blames radio.
Sirius XM CEO Jim Meyer has promised to fight the MMA because he says it gives radio an unfair advantage. He says the Act fails to address serious royalty exemptions for radio. The Satelite company does not get the same exemptions as radio and he says that’s not fair. Meyer says he’ll fight the Act until that issue is addressed. And that doesn’t sit well with National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) president David Israelite who used his Twitter account go off on Meyer earlier this week. Digital Music News was first to report on Israelite’s tweets calling Meyer’s arguments ‘pure b*&^%t,’ ‘patronizing,’ and ‘disingenuous.’
It appears Meyer is hoping to delay a vote on the MMA until after the elections when, of course, everything could change in Washington, including what bills get on the active docket.
In a Billboard Op-Ed Meyer said, It’s bad public policy to make a royalty obligation distinction between terrestrial radio and satellite radio.” He added, it’s not like radio can’t afford to pay recording artists. “Nobody makes more money from recorded music than the $14 billion radio industry. Radio revenue blows away that earned by competitors like SiriusXM ($5.4 billion) and online streaming services ($6.2 billion in total). Music radio revenue has risen by nearly $40 million since 2013 and the number of music stations has increased every year for the past five years . . . if radio wants to have rules that reflect the music industry of today then that should apply across the board.”
The NAB supports the bill which it says, “provides a consensus solution to music licensing issues facing songwriters, music publishers, and on-demand streaming services.”
Here are the key provisions in the legislation:
– The Act creates a blanket licensing system to quickly license and pay for musical work copyrights.
– It discourages music litigation that generates legal settlements in favor of simply ensuring that artists and copyright owners are paid in the first place without such litigation.
– Ends the flawed U.S. Copyright Office bulk notice of intent system that allows royalties to not be paid.
– Implements uniform rate-setting standards to be used by the Copyright Royalty Board for all music services.
– Shifts the costs of the new licensing collective created by the bill to the licensees.
– Updates how certain rate court cases are assigned in the Southern District of New York.
– The Act also provides a public performance right for pre-1972 recordings.
– And the Act ensures that record producers, sound engineers, and other creative professionals receive compensation for their work.
The House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill, 415-0.