Music Modernization Act hit with last minute snag

Currently working its way through the United States Congress, the Music Modernization Act will change how music royalties work in the digital age, such as new streaming royalties for creators.

So far, the MMA has passed the House of Representatives and the Senate Judiciary Committee, awaiting a final vote from the full Senate before being signed into law.

However, last-minute proposed changes from SESAC, now part of private equity firm Blackstone, could “doom” the law, notes advocates of the bill.

Proponents say the changes are created to benefit Blackstone at the expensive of the larger music industry. Unlike BMI or ASCAP, SESAC operates as a for-profit organization and determines rates for its copyrights based on the market.

In our early 2018 roundtable of production music experts, multiple respondents noted the benefits of the bill.

“The Music Modernization act will serve to assist in paying more free market Performance Royalty rates for music used in production. It will allow more data-driven decisions to be made by rate court judges in determining Performing Rights payouts from ASCAP and BMI. The MMA legislation should benefit music creators, publishers and music users,” said Anna Maria Hall of Killer Tracks in our Industry Insights piece.

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