“It’s a great day for music.”
So said one industry principal last Thursday, a day on which President Trump formally signed into law the Music Modernization Act. That legislation has reportedly been in the works for years, and is now being described in effusive terms by song-linked professionals.
Centrally, the list of interested parties includes songwriters, the essential musical creators who will benefit most from the law’s new mandates concerning licensing rules/policies and royalty accounting. Publishers and record companies also stand to benefit from the statutory enactment.
A core thrust of the law focuses on a new relationship that will now unfold between those parties and so-called “streaming” companies that make music widely available to the public. Big-name players in that realm include Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon.
Those entities have long been accused of shortchanging musical creators through an alleged failure to properly license their music and pay out fair royalties. One Nashville musical executive working on behalf of the artistic community says that unfair practices have yielded “devastating economic losses in the era of digital music delivery.”
Specific and quite detailed language in the Act’s provisions seeks to bar that result going forward. One main element of the law is its creation of a new entity to supplant the streaming companies as arbiter of all key licensing matters. That organization will identify copyright owners and pay out royalties. Moreover, it will do so pursuant to a new royalty-calculation standard that promises more profits for artists.
Much of the musical community has been economically wronged for decades, noted the president during the legislation’s signing ceremony.
“They’re not going to be treated unfairly anymore,” he added.