Music Modernization Act passed by the US House of Representatives

Michael Huppe, President and CEO at Sound Exchange

The bipartisan Music Modernization Act, which includes several legislative reforms – including the CLASSICS Act – was unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives this afternoon.

The news comes a fortnight after the broadly-supported Act was passed by the US House Judiciary Committee, and takes it one step further towards becoming law.

“This is an historic day for music creators,” said SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe (pictured, main).

“Today’s overwhelming support in the House for the Music Modernization Act reflects the bill’s widespread consensus, both across the aisle and across the music industry. This legislation stands to benefit artists, songwriters, labels, publishers, studio producers and others – many of whom are represented by the SoundExchange Companies.

“The Music Modernization Act includes provisions SoundExchange has advocated for over many years, as we work to advance fair treatment for all creators involved in bringing our music to life.

“We are grateful that lawmakers in the House worked to update our nation’s copyright laws for the digital age, and we look forward to working with the Senate to get this legislation passed quickly. Music creators have waited long enough.”

Added David Israelite, CEO of the National Music Publishers Association: “The House passage of the Music Modernization Act is truly historic for songwriters and the entire music ecosystem which they fuel.

“The MMA improves how songwriters are paid and how their work is valued, both of which are long overdue. The bill also helps digital streaming companies by giving them access to all the music their consumers want to enjoy.”

“Today’s vote sends a strong message that streaming services and songwriters can be on the same side – pushing for a better future for all. We now look forward to the Senate advancing the MMA and it ultimately becoming law.”

David Israelite, NMPA

Israelite added, “I am immensely grateful to Congressmen Doug Collins and Hakeem Jeffries who have seen this process through from the beginning and have stood by songwriters through a complex and lengthy collaboration process, and to Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Nadler for getting this bill to the House floor. Today’s vote sends a strong message that streaming services and songwriters can be on the same side – pushing for a better future for all. We now look forward to the Senate advancing the MMA and it ultimately becoming law.”

And Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Chairman & CEO Cary Sherman said: “With this unanimous vote, we are one step closer to a once-in-a-generation reform of our music licensing laws. It’s a long time coming and we have much work to do, but the breadth and depth of unprecedented legislative support demonstrated over the last two weeks is illustrative.

“It is the result of a broken system that poorly serves creators and years of painstaking consensus-building by a many key members of Congress. This bill has advanced as far it has because its component parts reflect reforms of the entire music ecosystem. That is an essential ingredient.

“Our focus and attention now turns to the Senate. We are fortunate that the major planks of the House-passed ‘Music Modernization Act’ enjoy bipartisan support in the Senate, and we look forward to working with Senators and their staff as they consider and advance these key reforms.”

The Music Modernization Act package contains three key elements:

  • The Music Modernization Act reforms Section 115 of the U.S. Copyright Act to create a single licensing entity that administers the mechanical reproduction rights for all digital uses of musical compositions – like those used in interactive streaming models offered by Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Pandora, Google and others. It also repeals Section 114(i) and, consistent with most federal litigation, utilizes random assignment of judges to decide ASCAP and BMI rate-setting cases.
  • The CLASSICS Act (Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society Act) would benefit artists and music creators who recorded music before 1972 by establishing royalty payments whenever their music is played on digital radio. SoundExchange would distribute royalties for pre-’72 recordings played by Internet, cable and satellite radio services just as it does for post-’72 recordings. Currently only sound recordings made after 1972 receive payments from digital radio services under federal law.
  • The AMP Act (Allocation for Music Producers Act) for the first time adds producers and engineers, who play an indispensable role in the creation of sound recordings, to U.S. copyright law. The bill codifies into law the producer’s right to collect digital royalties and provides a consistent, permanent process for studio professionals to receive royalties for their contributions to the creation of music. .

 Music Business Worldwide

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