Efforts continue to gut portions of the Music Modernization Act in the Senate despite unanimous backing in the House Of Representatives and near unanimous backing from all sectors of the the music industry. Now is an essential time to get speak out.
Today, June 28, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider the Music Modernization Act (S. 2823), the comprehensive music licensing reform legislation that has brought together the broadest coalition of music creators around a single bill in decades.
In April, the House of Representatives voted unanimously (415-0) to pass the bill, but the few opponents of the package are trying to slow the bill’s progress in the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee markup is one opportunity for opponents to try to derail our progress.
This is a critical moment for supporters of the bill to weigh in by contacting lawmakers and urging them to reject changes to the bill that will hurt the interests of creators.
For example, a few senators have taken an interest in striking provisions that guard the interests of music creators and their ability to protect their work and receive fair market value for it when it is used by digital services.
One effort to change the bill comes from the three digital services that have enjoyed discounted royalty rates for the last 20 years. Music Choice, SiriusXM and Muzak are fighting to preserve their special rate standard in the law, which is effectively a government subsidy that comes straight out of the pockets of music creators. In the last 10 years alone, this special treatment has shorted music creator royalties by more than $1 billion.
Tell Congress that two decades is long enough for businesses to get a cut-rate ride for their main product.
What’s in the Music Modernization Act?
The Music Modernization Act includes:
- The CLASSICS Act (S. 2393), which guarantees that legacy artists who recorded before February 15, 1972, receive compensation for their work;
- The original Music Modernization Act, which creates a new collective to administer a blanket license for mechanicals and establish and maintain a rights management database that will be made publicly available;
- The AMP Act (S. 2625), sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), which builds on SoundExchange’s existing process for honoring letters of direction for producers and sound engineers. GRAMMY®-nominated songwriter
Justin Roberts told the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 16 that the AMP Act is an important piece of the Music Modernization Act, and he credited SoundExchange for establishing a system to compensate producers and engineers;
- And rate parity provisions that will ensure that the three digital services benefitting from the special discounted rate they were given in 1998 will now pay rates set at fair market value, under the same “willing buyer, willing seller” rate paid by every other digital radio service that sends royalties to SoundExchange.
On the rate parity issue, SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe wrote a letter to Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein laying out the history of this corporate handout and how it distorts the music marketplace at great cost to artists and labels.
Protect the Progress Made on the Music Modernization Act
We have made incredible progress to reform our nation’s outdated copyright laws, but our work isn’t done yet. This week’s markup represents an important opportunity to move the bill to the full Senate for a vote, but music creators have to prevent opponents of this historic reform legislation from undermining our progress.
Contact lawmakers and urge them to support the Music Modernization Act (S. 2823).