Music Modernization Act Passes Senate

Photo: public domain

After a tumultuous summer of back and forth debate between various players in the music industry, the United States Senate unanimously passed the much-talked-about Music Modernization Act.

The passage follows a contentious debate between proponents of the MMA and performing rights organization SESAC, the latter of which proposed an 11th-hour amendment to the bill that would have stripped the MMA of much of its power. Following heated backlash from the music community and from NSAI, SESAC withdrew its amendment a little over a week after its proposal.

The Music Modernization Act, first introduced to the Senate in January, is expected to benefit large swaths of the music industry in several key ways: the establishment of a streamlined entity, the Music Licensing Collective, to oversee digital mechanical licensing; “guarantee[d] royalty payments for artists’ songs recorded prior to 1972”; a┬ánew streaming mechanical royalty rate standard for songwriters; and a process by which producers and engineers can also receive royalties for their work.

The MMA passed the House of Representatives and the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year. Before the bill can become law, it must once more pass the House and receive a signature from President Donald Trump.