The government shutdown, but Congress might fix music royalties

The Music Modernization Act is currently under review.

January 27, 2018
The government shutdown, but Congress might fix music royalties Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The U.S. government remains at a crossroads after a brief shutdown, but the music industry is working on making major internal improvements. Last year, New York City finally repealed the cabaret law with full support from Mayor Bill de Blasio. This followed the city passing a bill that introduced an official office of nightlife to regulate the industry. As of this month, both houses of Congress are evaluating a new bill called the Music Modernization Act that aims to ensure that rights holders are compensated for music streaming across digital platforms.


According to The Verge, the bill will make three additions to Section 115 of the U.S. Copyright Act which includes the installment of a governing agency to transparently distribute royalty payments to songwriters,= and music publishers, and overhauling the rate court system that is currently delegated between the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI).

Billboard reports that the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has endorsed its support of the Music Modernization Act. NAB, ASCAP and BMI stated the following in a joint statement:

"The agreement resolves NAB's concerns with the potential introduction of new evidence into the rate-setting process while preserving ASCAP and BMI's ability to seek meaningful compensation from the growing digital marketplace. Our three organizations have enjoyed a long, unique and successful relationship, and as a result, we were able to work together to find a path forward on this important legislation that is fair to all parties."

A trade group called the Internet Association is also in favor of the bill. Apparently, the Music Modernization Act will not affect terrestrial radio and simulcasts though.

The government shutdown, but Congress might fix music royalties