Music Modernization Act passes

The MMA aids the payment of royalties to all involved in music production


On Sept. 18, the Music Modernization Act (MMA) was passed unanimously through the Senate. A week later, the House of Representatives unanimously approved the Senate’s version of the bill, and it now awaits President Donald Trump’s signature of approval.

The passages show the bill has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. It is uncommon to see a unanimous vote in both parts of Congress. Several members of the music industry have also endorsed the bill.

The bill’s goal is to have bipartisan support while including and fairly representing all aspects of the music industry.

Essentially, this bill changes the way that mechanical royalties are paid to copyright owners and will overhaul how the courts regulate creative licensing.

Mechanical royalties give a certain amount of money to the songwriter. Songwriters typically have publishers to get them in the door initially, but publishers end up taking a substantial cut of the royalties that are paid out to the songwriter.

Before the publishers get paid, however, record labels receive payments. Afterward, money is distributed down to publishers, and then, lastly, songwriters receive their payments.

Users of music streaming platforms shouldn’t notice a change in app subscription prices, as this bill has no bearing on prices in the mass market. Individual song and album prices should not be affected, either.

Supporters say the bill will have positive effects for rightsholders, people who have exclusive protected rights to a product, in this case a song. They also say the bill will benefit streaming companies such as Apple Music, Spotify and Pandora as well as the overall music industry.

With the bill now officially approved by both houses and on its way to the president’s desk, the goal going forward is to improve the music industry by providing a simple, accountable and transparent way to take care of mechanical licenses of musical works. Most important is recognizing the talent and challenging work of studio professionals and songwriters alike by guaranteeing them rights and royalties for the music they create.

As the music industry continues to evolve through the technological age, this bill attempts to protect all involved in the creative proccess.

It was renamed the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act in the last moments. Hatch is a retiring senator who also works as a recording artist and plays the piano, violin and organ.


By: Gillen Faenza | Guest Writer