The MUSIC MODERNIZATION ACT

  • The Music Modernization Act (MMA) changes the way songwriter streaming royalty rates are set.  The MMA replaces an outdated 1909 law that governs songwriter mechanical/sales royalties, and changes consent decree regulations from 1941 that govern ASCAP and BMI songwriter performance royalties.
  • Now rates will be based on what songs are worth in the music marketplace and songwriters will be more fairly compensated.
  • The MMA creates a new Music Licensing Collective (MLC) governed by songwriters and music publishers to oversee and administer digital mechanical licensing and payments, resolve disputes and administer unclaimed royalties.
  • Streaming companies will fund the MLC, meaning songwriters will receive 100 cents of each royalty dollar.
  • ASCAP and BMI judges who have been appointed for life, will now be randomly selected for rate disputes.
  • The disastrous Notice of Intent (NOI) program, administered by the U.S. Copyright Office, that allows digital streaming companies to put the licensing burden back on songwriters is eliminated.
  • The MMA guarantees streaming royalty payments to artists whose recordings were done before 1972.  Previously they were not required to be paid AT ALL, due to a loophole in the Copyright Act.
  • Streaming royalty payments will now be paid directly to record producers and engineers.