Hatch, Alexander: Senate Passes “Most Important Legislation in a Generation” to Help Songwriters Be Paid Fair Market Value for Their Work

Posted on September 18, 2018

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*Click here for VIDEO of the Senator’s remarks.* 

WASHINGTON, September 18, 2018—United States Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today that Senate passage of their Music Modernization Act is “the most important legislation in a generation” to help songwriters be paid fair market value for their work. 

The bill, which attracted bipartisan support from 82 Senate co-sponsors and passed unanimously, now goes to the House of Representatives for a final vote before it goes to the President’s desk for signature. The Senate also agreed with Alexander’s request that the bill be named in honor of Senator Hatch who is retiring in January.

“With the passage of the Music Modernization Act (MMA), American songwriters now have a chance to be fairly compensated for their work when it is used on streaming services.  My fellow songwriters and I have suffered a devastating loss of income as streaming has become the dominant form of music consumption, because the laws governing our royalties have not kept pace with technology. Many of my fellow songwriters have had to quit the business because they could no longer support their families,” Steve Bogard, president of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, said. “This bill gives us the tools to obtain higher royalties for years to come so that songwriting can once again be a sustainable career. Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander has made the passage of the MMA a top priority because he understands the importance of music to Tennessee’s economy and culture.”

“I’m so pleased we’re one step closer to historic reform for our badly outdated music laws,” Hatch said. “The Music Modernization Act provides a solution, and it does so in a way that brings together competing sides of the music industry and both sides of the political spectrum. As a songwriter myself, I know firsthand how inefficient the current music marketplace is. The MMA will help all the songwriters and other music creators who make music such a rich, vibrant, and essential part of American culture.”

“Not only have laws governing songwriter royalties not kept up with the arrival of the internet, they have not been modernized since the days of the player piano a century ago. As a result, it has become impossible for most songwriters to make a decent living,” Alexander said. “Our legislation will help make sure songwriters are paid when their songs are played, and that they are paid a fair market value for their work. Our success in Congress 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 several years to do this but I believe the results will be well worth the effort.”  


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.
  • Today, the Senate passed the Music Modernization Act. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for a final vote before it goes to President Trump’s desk.

The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.),Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durban (D-Ill.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Gardner (R-Col.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kamala Harris (D-Calif), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bill Nelson (D-Fl.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska),  Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (R-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.).