On the Music Modernization Act

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By Joseph Rhoades

"Right now we just need the songwriter and artist community to hold each other accountable, and to not get lazy thinking someone else will make a change for us." - Ross Golan, songwriter, in Forbes, August 2018

While no piece of legislation is perfect, and no single law will magically change all the problems of the music business with a stroke of a pen, efforts like the Music Modernization Act (MMA) are long overdue. As most of us know, the system of compensation to artists, songwriters, and producers for the licensing of music is convoluted and often opaque. Musicians should welcome an update to the ways government regulates the music industry in the changing technological landscape. Many of these mechanisms predate the digital music revolution, and even originated in the early 20th century when publishing involved literal paper sheet music and mechanicals actually referred to player pianos. 

We can expect that some of the nuances of the bill will be lost on much of the music-listening public and the policy makers destined to vote on it. As music creators, it is therefore our responsibility to do our research, talk about the details with our peers, and organize. Any political system is only as good as the raw popular energy that goes into it.  We strongly encourage our members and friends to get informed about the MMA, which will directly affect our careers and our industry. Call your PRO, your label, your publisher and your Senator to tell them what you think.

Start reading up here:

"New Way to Pay Songwriters and Musicians in the Streaming Age Advances," New York Times, 28 June 2018

"A Hit Songwriter Explains Why The Music Modernization Act Is At A Tipping Point" Forbes, August 2018

"The Music Modernization Act: We Can and Must Do Better" Billboard, 21 February 2018

The Future of What Podcast: Music Modernization Act Update