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House sends key music royalties bill to the Senate

The Music Modernization Act is one step closer to being law.
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Pekic via Getty Images

Today, the Music Modernization Act passed the House of Representatives in a unanimous vote (there were no negative votes, but 16 representatives did not cast a vote). The bill still needs to be passed by the Senate, but considering the overwhelming support in the House, it seems like a safe bet that the MMA will become law soon. This comprehensive bill reforms the way the music business works in four different ways.

The biggest change is that it creates a publicly accessible database to identify who owns a song. This will make it easier for publishers and artists who own songs to get paid royalties, and it will also give those using a composition a blanket license to use it, as long as they pay the necessary royalties and fulfill reporting requirements.

The other changes include updating the statutory rate to reproduce a song to reflect market rates and assigning a random district judge from the state of New York to adjudicate rate disputes. The legislation also allows sound recording royalty rates to be taken into account when considering performance royalty rates for songwriters and composers.

This bill was created through a compromise between digital services, songwriters, music publishers, artists radio and more. As a result, it enjoys broad support across the music industry. "Digital streaming services have saved the music industry, delivering consumers better experiences and better value, and growing revenue for creators," said Chris Harrison, the CEO of the Digital Media Association, in a statement. "The MMA will ensure fans and artists can take full advantage of streaming to create, discover, and enjoy the music they love."

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