With three pieces of music legislation making its way through the U.S. Congress, the various sectors of the industry have pulled together to endorse each other’s key initiatives.
The Music Modernization Act of 2017, which will create a blanket mechanical license among other things, largely benefits the music publishing sector and digital services; the Classics Act, which will establish master royalty payments for pre-1972 recording for digital performances, benefits record labels and artists; while the AMP Act, codifies into law for record producers and engineers the right to receive royalties for digital performances, which benefits studio professionals.
Those bills are supported by the the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), the Recording Academy, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), the Songwriters of North America (SONA), The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), the Production Music Association (PMA), the Church Music Publishers Association (CMPA), the Music Publishers Association (MPA), the Council of Music Creators (CMC), the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL), MusicAnswers, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), SAG-AFTRA, the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP), SoundExchange, SX Works, the Administrators of Gospel Music (AGM) and the Music Managers Forum U.S.
This is a largely a departure from the distant past when the different sectors were often involved in lobbying against each other before they moved into a period of detente where they might not endorse each sectors proposed legislation but also would at least not oppose it, either.
“Today is truly a new day for songwriters and artists,” NMPA President & CEO David Israelite said in a statement. “We are all coming together to support each other’s efforts to modernize and bring fairness to how music creators are paid. Music has value — and that value is not reflected in the way songwriters and artists are treated under century-old laws that have not kept pace with technology. Right now, there is unprecedented momentum behind efforts to fix outdated laws that prevent music creators from earning what they deserve, and I am thrilled to say that publishers, songwriters, composers, labels, artists and PROs stand together to fix them.”
Notable by its absent from the endorsement of various industry group is the “Fair Play Fair Pay Act,” which among other things would create a long sought performance royalty for master recordings terrestrial radio play for artists and record labels. One element of the act — paying royalties to pre-1972 recordings — is now the main thrust of the Classics Act.
Yet, the RIAA which has long championed master recording royalties for terrestrial radio performances nevertheless endorses all three of the acts. “2018 is the year for Congress to enact many long-studied proposals that will make our country’s music licensing system fairer for artists,” songwriters and their label and publisher partners, RIAA president Mitch Glazier said in a statement. “A unified music community is essential if we are to take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity. We encourage the Judiciary Committees to begin advancing these common-sense provisions that modernize the music licensing system, and provide fair, market-based compensation to all music creators for their property and work.”
By seemingly putting off the label and artist dream of getting a master-recording performance royalty for terrestrial radio play this year, the powerful radio industry lobby said that while it has serious concerns about some provisions of the Modernization Act, at least the NAB sounded a conciliatory note saying it would work to hopefully resolve those issues.
The Recording Academy was one of the main proponents of the AMP Act and its CEO Neil Portnow said in a statement, “For years, our creator membership has sought a holistic approach to update music licensing. Artists, songwriters, producers and engineers have each advocated for their fellow creators because we’re all in this together. Today, our industry unites in the same manner to support a comprehensive slate of legislative issues that will improve the environment for music makers, music services, and music fans. As we prepare to celebrate music at the GRAMMYs, we can celebrate this important milestone as well.”
See comments by the leaders of the other organizations named above here.