Music Modernization Act Approved By The Senate


The U.S. Senate passed the Music Modernization Act by unanimous consent Tuesday evening. This Senate version will go back to the House where it needs to be voted on again because of the changes the Senate made to the bill. If the House approves the new version, it goes on to President Trump for his signature. The House passed its own version of the bill in April 415-0. SiriusXM tried to derail the bill claiming radio was getting special treatment. Those complaints were basically ignored by lawmakers.

NAB CEO Gordon Smith issued the following statement: “NAB applauds Senate passage of the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act. Naming this critical legislation after Senator Hatch is a fitting tribute to his tireless efforts to improve the lives of songwriters. NAB appreciates the hard work of Senators Hatch, Whitehouse, Alexander, and Coons, Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein in producing a compromise bill that will benefit songwriters, legacy recording artists, producers, digital streaming services, and music listeners. We are particularly supportive of a provision added to the Senate bill ensuring enhanced congressional review of any DOJ changes to ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. These decrees are essential to a functioning music marketplace, and any action to terminate them will now be preceded by appropriate Congressional oversight to protect the interests of songwriters, licensees, and consumers of music.”

ASCAP Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Matthews and ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams released the following statements:

“Today’s unanimous passage of the Music Modernization Act in the Senate represents a Herculean industry-wide effort to promote and celebrate songwriters and ensure their right to a sustainable livelihood. We applaud Senators Hatch, Alexander, Grassley, Feinstein, Whitehouse, Coons and the entire Senate for recognizing the value music has in both society and our hearts.” – Elizabeth Matthews, ASCAP Chief Executive Officer

“American songwriters work tirelessly behind the scenes to create the music that fans all over the world enjoy. Today, we made history by joining together and working for Senate passage of the Music Modernization Act, bringing us one step closer to a music licensing framework that reflects how people listen to music today. We urge the House of Representatives to swiftly pass the Senate bill, so the President can sign it into law and music creators can begin to see the benefits of this critical reform.” – Paul Williams, songwriter, ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President.

SESAC CEO John Josephson said it was truly a significant day. “Speaking on behalf of all SESAC affiliates, we’re thrilled the Music Modernization Act has passed the Senate unanimously. We applaud everyone’s hard work and especially the Senators who have worked so diligently to get the bill passed. We urge the House to adopt the Senate bill for the President to sign, so the MMA becomes reality. We’re excited about the future of the music industry and modernization that allows all music creators to finally be paid more fairly for their hard work and dedication.”

The Content Creators Coalition and MusicAnswers released the following statement reacting to the Senate passing the Music Modernization Act: “The Content Creators Coalition (c3) and MusicAnswers applaud the Senate passage and expected prompt House passage of the Music Modernization Act. The bill is a great step forward towards a fairer music ecosystem that works better for music creators, services, and fans. Our organizations have been pleased to join in the efforts of the music creator community in support of this bill.”

According to Billboard, the bill creates a blanket mechanical license and establishes a collective to administer it; reshapes how courts can determine rates, while making sure future performance rates hearings rotate among all U.S. Southern District Court Judges to music publishers, songwriters, and performance rights organizations; creates a royalty for labels, artists, and musicians to be paid by digital services for master recordings created prior to Feb. 15, 1972, while also eliminating a carveout for “pre-existing digital services”; and, codifies a process for Sound Exchange to pay producers and engineers royalties for records they have worked on.


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