U.S. News


Senate Passes Bill That Would Modernize Music Rules In The Digital Age

The bill passed unanimously Tuesday evening.
Posted at 9:44 PM, Sep 19, 2018

The Music Modernization Act unanimously passed the Senate Tuesday evening, accomplishing the same feat it did in the House just a few months ago.

The legislation seeks to fix copyright and wage regulation issues created by an increasingly digital music industry. It's an update to part of the U.S. Copyright Act. 

Senator Lamar Alexander said, "It is the most important piece of legislation in a generation to help make sure songwriters in our country are paid and are paid a fair market value for their work."

The bill would create an agency called the Mechanical Licensing Collective. That would keep a database of all the information about songwriters' works. The writer would then get mechanical royalties negotiated between them and the buyer whenever a copy of their work is made. 

Digital services like Spotify or Apple Music would pay the collective's operating costs. While the music industry has largely supported the bill, some companies, like Music Choice and Sirius XM, have contested parts of it. Neither are happy the new rules will require them to pay royalties for songs recorded before 1972. 

The Senate also voted to rename the bill the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act in honor of the retiring senator and songwriter. It now heads back to the House where the Senate's changes are expected to be approved.