The music industry has applauded the passage of the Music Modernisation Act in the US Senate by unanimous consent. It now just awaits final reconsideration by the House of Representatives (where it already passed by 415-0) and the signature of President Trump.
The legislation has seen wide support for its planned reform of the music licensing process, which would result in new technology and greater transparency to speed up royalty payments to music publishers and songwriters. It would also close a digital loophole for legacy recordings.
The legislation had been plain sailing until some last-minute wrangling over proposed amendments. However, an agreement was finally reached that saw the biz united on the reforms. Sirius XM also compromised after holding out on key points, which had prompted threats of an artist boycott.
Industry leaders and organisations have welcome the key vote in the Senate.
Martin Bandier, chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, said: “The unanimous backing of the MMA by the US Senate shows what can be achieved when a diverse group of parties puts aside its differences and works together for the music industry’s greater good. This is a significant victory for all rights holders and we are confident that once the bill goes back to the House it will pass and become law shortly. It will go a long way to ensuring that songwriters and music publishers will be fairly compensated for their contribution to the streaming revolution, which has transformed music into a growth industry once again.”
The future of the music industry got brighter today
SoundExchange president and CEO, Michael Huppe, said: "The future of the music industry got brighter today. Creators of music moved one step closer to getting paid more fairly. And industry forces that fought to maintain an unfair and harmful status quo were rebuffed. Now, SoundExchange's 170,000-member community has just one word for the House of Representatives: Encore.
"The Music Modernisation Act proves what can happen when constructive industry leaders work together towards a greater good. The SoundExchange community joined a historic coalition of artists, labels, songwriters, music publishers, streaming services, performance rights organisations, producers, engineers and unions. The outcome of this collaboration is a law that sets a new framework to guide the future of the music industry. There are still issues regarding creator fairness that we need to address, but today we celebrate a new era of cooperation and progress across the industry.”
It follows a similar successful joint effort from the music business in Europe in lobbying for the EU Copyright Directive.
NMPA President and CEO David Israelite said: “Today is a momentous day for songwriters, artists, composers, producers, engineers and the entire industry that revolves around them. The Senate vote marks a true step forward towards fairness for the people at the heart of music who have long been undervalued due to outdated laws. This was a long and complex process but ultimately the music industry has come out stronger and more united than ever. We commend Senators Orrin Hatch, Lamar Alexander, Chuck Grassley and Senate Leadership for swiftly moving this bill to the floor. Now we anxiously await the House’s final approval of the MMA and seeing it signed into law.”
NMPA Board Chairman Irwin Robinson added: "The Senate's passage of the Music Modernisation Act is the most exciting development I've seen in my career. Songwriters have suffered long enough and this bill will allow them to be paid fairly by the streaming companies that rely on their work. We got to this point because of the advocacy of hundreds of music creators who rallied behind the MMA and who will drive the future of the music industry. I look forward to seeing the MMA become law and watching the songwriters, composers, artists and producers who will greatly benefit.”
Mike O’Neill, president & CEO, BMI, said: “The Senate’s unanimous passage of The Music Modernisation Act is a monumental step forward in getting this critical piece of legislation signed in to law. This bill has been the product of unprecedented collaboration across the entire industry, and we thank Senators Hatch, Alexander, Grassley, Feinstein, Whitehouse, Coons, and the entire Senate, for helping to ensure that songwriters and composers can continue to earn a living creating the music that is loved all over the world.”
Chris Harrison, CEO of DiMA, the Digital Media Association, which represents music streaming companies, said: “This milestone for the MMA demonstrates that with bipartisan leadership and a united music industry looking to the future, consumers, creators and copyright owners can all benefit.
“The MMA is a groundbreaking piece of legislation that will streamline royalty payments and bring some much-needed transparency to the system.
"Digital streaming and innovation have saved the music industry, delivering consumers better experiences and better value, and growing revenue for creators. With Senate passage of the MMA, we look forward to working with Members of the House in the coming days to send a strong bill to the President’s desk for his signature.”