The Music Modernization Act – an attempt to sort out the mess surrounding mechanical rights payments – was just introduced into the US Senate. The act hopes to remedy the problems associated with paying songwriters whose songs are streamed on digital platforms. It was introduced into the House of Representatives late last year.
There have been a number of lawsuits launched against streaming services over unpaid money to songwriters in the recent past. The act proposes a new royalty collection society that would be responsible to issuing a blanket license that covers mechanical rights of songwriters when there are no direct deals between streaming providers and music publishers.
Most of the existing performing rights organizations, as well as others in the digital and music industries, support the bill saying it’s an important step they appreciate. But there are also some critics of the bill.
Complete Music Update reports:
In addition to cross-party support in Congress, the proposals are also backed by an assortment of organisations in the music and digital communities. Though there are critics too, with concerns raised by some songwriters, in particular over how the new mechanical rights collecting society will be governed.
The act was initially proposed by both Hakeem Jeffries (Democrat) and Doug Collins (Republican). The bill also has bipartisan support in the Senate.
CEO of the National Music Publishers Association, David Israelite, called the bill “the best hope for songwriters to achieve fair royalties and payments,” while Mike O’Neill, the CEO of BMI said the bill is “an important step forward…while we believe there is still more to do to protect the value of the performance right.”
The sentiments were shared by heads of various songwriting, publishing and royalty organizations.