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Dear Musician – Music Modernization

It’s about time…

 

by Dendy Jarrett

 


 

 

On October 11th the President signed into law the Music Modernization Act. In a world where politics have gone haywire, it was relief to see this bill pass. It was born out of honest and sincere intentions from people who have a genuine desire to solve a long-standing problem that (in essence) robbed musicians and/or songwriters out of their rightful royalties from the work they did years ago. And, best we can tell, there are no nefarious schemes or underlying political ploys at play.

 

For years, the playing field between songwriters and publishers has never been level. Much of this has really come to light because many of the laws written regarding song licensing were written in a pre-digital-age era. Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music (known as DSPs) didn’t exist when these laws were written, so the regulations were open to interpretation. One of the main achievements of the law, based on what we understand, is that it guarantees that writers of pre-1972 songs receive federal copyright protection, allowing them to earn payments from streaming services, some of which have regularly played those songs without paying royalties.

 

Ironically, both songwriters and publishers who never seem to agree on anything have supported the Music Modernization Act (MMA). This bill is serving as an olive branch to bridge efforts to get musicians and artists their rightful earnings.

 

The other fantastic part of this bill is that it moves to modernize into the 21st Century the process of licensing, tracking and paying royalties.

 

Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said in a statement, “As we celebrate the harmony and unity that got us here, we applaud the efforts of the thousands of performers, songwriters, and studio professionals who rallied for historic change to ensure all music creators are compensated fairly when their work is used by digital and satellite music services.”

 

Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) who, co-sponsored the bill, said, “Our music licensing laws (have been) convoluted, out of date, and don’t reward songwriters fairly for their work. They’ve also failed to keep up with recent, rapid changes in how Americans purchase and listen to music.” The goal, he further says, is “to make it easier for music creators to make a living.”

 

Making it easier to make a living making better music? It’s about time! -HC-

 

Join our forum discussion on Music Modernization here

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Executive Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.

 

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