Hatch, Alexander: President Trump Signs Into Law “Most Important Legislation in a Generation to Help Songwriters”

Posted on October 11, 2018

“This is really big news for Tennesseans – from Beale Street in Memphis, through Music City, all the way to the birthplace of country music in Bristol.” – Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, October 11, 2018—United States Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today praised President Trump’s signing into law their “most important legislation in a generation to help songwriters” be paid fair market value for their work.

“This is an incredibly important day for America’s music community. The Music Modernization Act, which is now law, will improve the lives of songwriters, recording artists, producers, sound engineers, and just about everyone who works in the music industry,” Hatch said. “It will help ensure that songwriters are paid a fair market rate when their songs are played, and that recording artists and producers are fairly compensated for their work. This is the most important copyright legislation in a generation, and I’m so grateful to have been a part of this effort, and grateful to my colleagues for naming the bill in my and Chairman Goodlatte’s honor.”

“This is really big news for Tennesseans -- from Beale Street in Memphis, through Music City, all the way to the birthplace of country music in Bristol. We have thousands of songwriters -- taxi drivers, music teachers -- struggling to make a living, and in the Internet age, sometimes they aren’t paid for their songs, and when they are paid, they're not paid a fair market value,” Alexander said. “The Music Modernization Act is the most important law in a generation to help make sure that our songwriters -- and songwriters all over America -- can keep working and make a decent living by making sure they're paid when their songs are played, and making sure that they're paid a fair market value for their work. Our success is the result of most parts of the music industry – songwriters, publishers, digital music companies and broadcasters – working together on what they agree on instead of fighting over what they disagree about. It has taken us several years to get to this point, and I’m glad this very important legislation is now law.”

“The Music Modernization Act (MMA) is now law,” said Nashville Songwriter Association International’s (NSAI) President Steve Bogard. “After so many years of having our incomes decimated by tragically low streaming music royalties, songwriters can finally expect to see future growth in our compensation.  The MMA creates the opportunity for professional songwriting to once again become a more viable career,” reflected the songwriter, who has 10 #1 compositions to his credit, on the decade and a half his organization has worked specifically on some version of this bill. “NSAI wants to thank all the Members of Congress who worked on the MMA for months.  We send a special salute to Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander who proactively reached out to NSAI in December 2016 envisioning even bolder legislation than we’d proposed to help American songwriters achieve higher royalty rates from digital streaming companies.  Now that the legislation has come to pass and songwriters are eternally grateful for his work.”

“Now we move from the Music Modernization Act becoming law to building a new Music Licensing Collective (MLC) to administer blanket licenses for millions of songs,” said NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison who noted “the new MLC must be operational on the first day of January 2021. So we will immediately set about establishing the governance of the MLC and building a transparent database, licensing architecture and infrastructure for finding song owners.  Above all we must prepare to use the tools in the MMA to achieve higher royalty rates for American songwriters.”

Alexander requested the bill be named in honor of Hatch, who is also a songwriter with a gold and platinum record, and is retiring in January. Both Hatch and Alexander attended a signing ceremony at the White House today.

Background:

The Music Modernization Act creates a new, simplified licensing system to make it easier for digital music companies to obtain a license for songs. The simplified system will also ensure that songwriters are paid the royalties they are owed. In addition, the bill revises outdated songwriter royalty standards to ensure songwriters are paid a fair market rate for their work.

  • U.S. Senators Hatch and Alexander introduced the Music Modernization Act in the Senate on May 10, 2018.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the legislation on June 28, 2018, and the Senate passed the legislation on September 18, 2018.
  • The House of Representatives passed the legislation on September 25, 2018.

 

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