The Music Modernization Act unanimously passes, bringing considerable changes for both labels and artists

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The Music Modernization Act unanimously passes, bringing considerable changes for both labels and artistsMusic Industry Modernization Act Passes

After a lengthy process and a fair amount of music industry squabbling, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Music Modernization Act on September 19.

The MMA was developed as a direct response to a rapidly changing and shifting music industry that’s still sprinting to catch up to the upheaval caused by streaming services and the shift in how digital royalties are accumulated and ultimately paid. The act will bring immediate changes including royalties for artists and songwriters on songs recorded before 1972, allocating additional royalties for music producers; and updating streaming service licensing and royalty rules to better and more easily pay rights-holders.

Overall, it means the piece of the modern music industry pie for creators and labels gets a little bit bigger. Orrin Hatch, the senator from Utah who championed the bill’s push through Congress, was quick to point out how much more change the music industry still needs in a statement. Says Hatch,

“With this bill, we are one step closer to historic reform for our badly outdated music laws. That the MMA is a boon to creators in the music industry is true. However, the long and internally contentious path to make just three modest changes to copyright rules highlights one reason why more hasn’t been done.”

The Music Modernization Act takes another step towards fair compensation for music curators

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The Music Modernization Act takes another step towards fair compensation for music curatorsJomar 271602 Unsplash

The Music Modernization Act (MMA) has passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee, taking music creators a step closer to appropriate licensing and royalty rules for the streaming era. It now has to pass a full Senate vote before hitting the president’s desk.

The music copyright overhaul essentially partners Apple Music, Spotify, and publishers under a single licensing agency, streamlining the license management process. Songwriters and accredited artists will be paid out for songs recorded before 1972, while new rights will be granted to music producers and mixers. Older musicians who missed the streaming boom and studio engineers look to benefit here in the form of royalty checks coming their way if passed.

One of the most important facets of the bill is an overall standardization of payment rates between distribution services and rights-holders. It’s about time music law addressed the streaming industry because the current system is still set up for physical music copies.

Although the MMA has received criticism for its lack of consideration towards medium-sized business, most in the industry are in favor, seeing this as a long-awaited, financial organization of the current music landscape. D.I.Y. musicians, and musicians who own their own rights might still have trouble policing ineffective or inefficient licensing practices. More established artists, publishers, studio producers, and labels labels will benefit, giving them more time to focus on creating music and less time worrying about licensing and royalty structures. It’s a step in the right direction on this long trek towards fair compensation for music creators.

H/T: Rolling Stone

Photo Credit: Jomar/Unsplash

Senate to force vote on overturning recent net neutrality repeals

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To the dismay of millions of Americans, 2017 ended with the repeal of net neutrality laws that were set in place by the Obama Administration in a 3-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission. Artists and celebrities joined the droves of livid protesters, both online and in the streets to vocalize their outrage; meanwhile, the FCC poached “Harlem Shake” for a video intended to quell people’s tempers in what turned out to be one of the most cringe-worthy moments in a cringe-filled year.

America’s lawmakers are now finally catching up, as the Senate prepares to vote on possibly overturning the FCC’s recent decision. It’s a real long shot, but here’s how it came together, and theoretically, how it could proceed.

Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, one of the leading political voices of dissent against the FCC’s move, has garnered the support necessary (30 votes) to force a congressional vote under the guidelines of the Congressional Review Act alongside Senator Claire McCaskill . The Act allows Congress to negate recently-passed regulations with a simple majority.

Here’s the long shot. If the Senate debates, votes on, and eventually chooses to overturn the FCC’s ruling, the resolution goes to the House. If the resolution then passes in the House, it lands on Donald Trump’s desk for signature, which seems like the most unlikely component of the whole scenario. If the resolution does not pass on the Senate floor, there are other legal avenues to explore — individual states are already gearing up to implement local legislation that will combat the FCC’s regulations. In fact, with an upcoming Senate vote now officially underway, the fight to restore the Obama-era net regulations is now just getting started.


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