Congress weighs Music Modernization Act, updating music licensing and payment rules

Posted on: May 23, 2018

“Spotify doesn’t have a feature allowing you to see into the back-end of music—the thorny tangle of copyright, licensing, distribution and royalty rules that governs how artists get paid—whenever you stream a song,” writes Amy X. Wang in last Wednesday’s (5/16) Rolling Stone. “This summer … Congress is weighing the Music Modernization Act, a piece of legislation that has garnered overwhelming support…. The MMA’s … broader goal: bringing music licensing up to speed in the digital … age. Under the bill—which was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives on April 25th, given a Senate judiciary committee hearing on Tuesday and will soon be up for a full vote—digital services like Apple Music and Spotify would essentially come together with publishers and songwriters to manage licenses through a streamlined process and a single licensing agency…. Elizabeth Matthews, CEO of performance-rights organization ASCAP, [said], ‘This legislation is critical to ensuring songwriters have a pathway to fair compensation so they can sustain their livelihoods.’ … The music business has been pressing for these laws, among others, to be updated for at least a decade…. If [the MMA] clears the Senate quickly, it could land on President Trump’s desk for signing before the middle of summer.”

Posted May 23, 2018