Songwriter Justin Roberts meets Rep. McGovern (D-MA.) At GRAMMYs On The Hill
Photo: Leigh Vogel/WireImage.com
Justin Roberts, Smokey Robinson To Speak At Senate Hearing On MMA On May 15
After years of sustained advocacy by the Recording Academy and its members, comprehensive music reform has gained new momentum in 2018. Just two weeks ago, the Music Modernization Act passed the House of Representatives with a unanimous 415 – 0 vote on April 25. This vote immediately follows the unanimous approval by the House Judiciary Committee on April 11, where members passed the bill in a 32 – 0 vote.
The Senate hearing will see GRAMMY nominated singer/songwriter Justin Roberts testify on behalf of the music community, sharing his own experiences as a music creator. A member of the Recording Academy's Board of Trustees, Roberts will also serve as the Academy's witness. Also expected to testify at the hearing will be GRAMMY winner, GRAMMY Legend and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Smokey Robinson and GRAMMY-winning songwriter Josh Kear.
Roberts, Robinson and Kear have all been active participants in the Recording Academy's advocacy work, with Roberts and Robinson speaking on behalf of the Academy at GRAMMYs On The Hill in 2018 and 2016, respectively. Kear, meanwhile, spoke with lawmakers as part of the Academy’s 2013 GRAMMY Week Congressional Briefing.
These artists are all taking the important step of testifying at next week's Senate hearing because of the comprehensive set of reforms that MMA represents. Incorporating some of the most important provisions of the AMP Act, the CLASSICS Act, and the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, the songwriter-focused Music Modernization Act will close the compensation loophole for works of recorded music created prior to 1972 currently exploited by digital platforms without compensating artists. In addition, the MMA will increase industry efficiency and transparency by establishing a single licensing entity to administer mechanical licensing for songwriters, all while making it easier for internet platforms and streaming services to lawfully license the music in the first place. And for the first time, it will recognize the contributions of producers and engineers in copyright law.
The time is now to enact equitable reforms to music licensing laws that have been allowed to remain unchanged for a generation and close loopholes that allow digital platforms to exploit creators without fair compensation.