Alexander to Rotarians: Congress Should Pass Legislation This Year to Help Songwriters Be Paid Fair Market Value for Their Work

Posted on March 26, 2018

For Immediate Release

Contact: Ashton Davies, (202) 224-7154

“We’re in the age of the Internet, and the laws governing what songwriters are paid are from the age of the player piano.”


NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 26, 2018 -- United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told members of the Nashville Rotary that his legislation to help Nashville songwriters be paid fair market value for their work now has 18 bipartisan sponsors from across the political spectrum and “should be signed into law this year.”

We’re in the age of the Internet, and the laws governing what songwriters are paid are from the age of the playier piano. Our  legislation addresses two challenges facing songwriters: One is that the arrival of the Internet has meant that many songwriters aren’t paid royalties when their songs are played, and two, when they are paid, they aren’t paid a fair market value for their songs. With such a good amount of bipartisan support, we should be able to get a result so the bill can be signed into law this year.”

Alexander joined Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who introduced the Music Modernization Act on January 24, as a cosponsor along with U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Roger Wicker (R- Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).  The legislation would set up a new simplified licensing entity to make it easier for digital music companies to obtain a license and play songs, and ensure songwriters are paid the royalties they are owed. Similar legislation has also been introduced in the House of Representatives and has 65 cosponsors.

Alexander also spoke about the new historic tax reform that Congress passed and was signed into law in December, saying Tennesseans should begin to see the law’s benefits in their paychecks.

"Because of the new tax law the Republican-led Congress passed in December, most Tennessee families and businesses will be able to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets," Alexander said. "For example, a family of four in Nashville making a little over $70,000 a year should save more than $2,000 on their taxes, and a single mother making $41,000 a year should see a $1,300, or 73 percent, reduction in her taxes. The bill doubled the child tax credit worth up to $2,000 per child – and families could receive as much as $1,400 of the child tax credit as a refund. The new law also repeals the individual mandate, which has been a particularly cruel tax to lower-income Tennesseans — most of the people in our state who pay the individual mandate penalty make less than $50,000 a year."

Alexander also talked about how last Thursday Democrats blocked his health care bill to reduce health insurance premiums by up to 40 percent for self-employed business people, plumbers, farmers, and songwriters who buy individual insurance and don’t qualify for a government subsidy. “This was bad news for Tennesseans like Marty, a farmer in Tennessee whose health insurance rates have increased from $300 to $1,300. Last week, Senate Democrats blocked a bill I sponsored along with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Representatives Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) that would have helped lower health insurance premiums by up to 40 percent next year. It's a big disappointment."