Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage.com
Major Music Reform Package Introduced By Bipartisan Senate Coalition
As the man once said, "The times they are a-changing."
After decades of stalled efforts to amend unfair and outdated music licensing laws – many of which have languished unchanged for decades, leaving creators hanging in the breeze – real progress in fixing the state of music law finally appears to be fast approaching.
Today, creators everywhere have great reason to be hopeful as Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), along with the support of an impressive group of legislators from both sides of the political aisle including Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Mike Crapo (R-Id.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) David Perdue (R-Ga.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), and Roy Blunt (R-M.), has officially introduced a package titled the Music Modernization Act (MMA) for review by the U.S. Senate.
The comprehensive reform proposal combines elements of four previously-introduced pieces of legislation – the original songwriter-focused Music Modernization Act; the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society Act, or CLASSICS Act; the Allocation for Music Producers, or AMP Act; and the Fair Play Fair Pay Act. A similar unified music package has already passed the House of Representatives with a unanimous 415 – 0 vote after previously passing the House Judiciary with a likewise unanimous 32 – 0 vote.
Having been introduced to the Senate, the MMA is expected to be the focus of legislative hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 15.
"Today’s introduction is an important step toward enacting historic reform for our badly outdated music laws,” said Senator Hatch of the bill. “For far too long, our old-fashioned, disorganized way of collecting and distributing music royalties has resulted in songwriters and other content creators being paid far too little for their work. It’s also exposed digital music companies to significant liability and created overall uncertainty in the music marketplace. As a songwriter myself, I know how important these issues are. That’s why I’m so pleased we’re taking this significant step today to bring fairness and certainty to our music laws."
The Recording Academy's Chief Industry, Government, & Member Relations Officer Daryl P. Friedman applauded today's introduction, saying, "As the organization that represents music’s creators, the Recording Academy is grateful for the introduction of this comprehensive package. The Academy’s songwriter, performer, producer and engineer members in every state will advocate for passage of the Music Modernization Act, and they thank Senators Hatch, Grassley, Whitehouse, and all the original cosponsors for their support of music makers."
With such a widespread groundswell of bipartisan support for these equitable reforms to music licensing laws that have been allowed to remain unchanged for a generation, it is imperative that the Senate recognize the direction the winds are blowing and enact change that protects an industry that provides nearly 2 million American jobs.