Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Music Licensing Bill

In a historic decision for the digital age, the Senate Judiciary Committee has unanimously passed the Music Modernization Act.

The bill has now moved on to the Senate, where it is expected to pass as well.

The Music Modernization Act, or MMA, updates copyright law for the digital age and is the result of unprecedented cooperation between the music industry and the streaming services that have upended how the business earns money.

The amendments, according to the National Music Publishers Association, include increased oversight and greater transparency in the operation of the Mechanical Licensing Collective agency that will be created by the bill.

In addition, for any future changes or termination to the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees being considered by the Dept. of Justice, the DOJ must now communicate and consult with Congress.

The amendments also promote educational efforts to educate copyright owners and songwriters about the unclaimed royalty process.

“The Music Modernization Act grew stronger in the Senate and remains a bright, bipartisan light for an industry that is ready to stream forward to a better future,” Digital Media Association CEO Chris Harrison said in a statement.

“The Manager’s Amendment brings greater transparency and makes it easier for songwriters and copyright owners to verify the accuracy of royalty payments made while ensuring the efficient and cost-effective operation of the Mechanical Licensing Collective.”

RIAA president Mitch Glazier said in a statement that “when a community comes together as we have done, with no segment getting everything they want but recognizing injustice and working toward a common goal, anything is possible.”

The central part of the bill calls for the creation of a body to administer royalties owed to songwriters by music-streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music.

Despite mere oppositions, the decision was welcomed by all corners of the music industry, who are eager to see the benefits it would bring to artists, publishers, studio producers, labels and publishers alike.

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