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  • Kawaski J. Nelson

What Is 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  The MMA replaces an outdated 1909 law that governs songwriter mechanical/sales royalties, and changes consent decree regulations from 1941 that govern ASCAP and BMI songwriter performance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.


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