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“With this bill, we are one step closer to historic reform for our badly outdated music laws.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.”