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The Music Modernization Act Passes the House in a Unanimous Vote

ASCAP is just one of the supporters of the act. 
by VVN Music

Veteran music artists just received a huge boost towards reclaiming the rights to their older recordings.

The Music Modernization Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously on Wednesday (April 25). Sponsored by Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the bill received a number of impassioned speeches prior to the vote.

While supporters admit that it doesn't fix everything in the music business, including the loophole that allows radio stations to forego performance royalty payments (the National Association of Broadcasters lobby is strong on the hill), it does correct a number of other areas that, as Goodlatte said on Wednesday, "brings early 20th century music laws for the analog era into the 21st century digital era".

Among areas improved are the correcting of pre-1972 loophole, reinstating royalties for performances (recordings) released prior to that year.  This has been a major strain on the wallets of veteran artists as services like Sirius/XM have steadfastly refused to pay for any of the music they pay on their 40's, 50's and 60's stations along with many others on the service.

The bill also improves the mechanical licensing system which, as was said on the floor "seems to generate more paperwork and attorneys’ fees than royalties", gives rights to those on the production side including producers, engineers and mixers, and supports a unified rate for all music royalties.

The legislation now moves on to the Senate where it is currently in three separate bills and is expected to come to a vote in May.  If passed, reconciliation will then occur between all of the bills and a final vote will occur in both chambers.

The Recording Academy released the following statement:

Today, one week after the Recording Academy™'s GRAMMYs on the Hill® Awards and Advocacy Day, music creators are applauding the House of Representatives’ passage of the Music Modernization Act (H.R. 5447). Introduced on April 10, 2018, by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the bill quickly gained bipartisan support for the need to update music copyright laws and align legislation with the changes in music consumption, ensuring fair pay for all creators. The historic bill, if passed by the Senate, would be the biggest update to music legislation in 40 years.

The Recording Academy first called for this comprehensive update to music legislation in 2014, tirelessly advocating for its support since. On April 18–19, as a part of the Academy's GRAMMYs on the Hill grassroots initiative, more than 100 GRAMMY® winners, nominees, and Academy leaders met with nearly 60 Senate and House offices, including key congressional leadership, to advocate for the bill.

"Music creators compose the soundtrack to our lives. These creators deserve to be paid a fair wage for their work," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "The passage of the Music Modernization Act in the House of Representatives is a historic step forward for all music creators, ensuring that they are credited, paid, and shown the respect they deserve for the impact they have on our culture and daily life. We are honored that GRAMMYs on the Hill helped to pave the way for these long overdue updates."

"As the House sent the Music Modernization Act to the Senate today, I'm reminded of the collaboration that has brought the music industry and Congress to the brink of making the most meaningful copyright reforms of a generation," said Rep. Doug Collins, who introduced the original Music Modernization Act last December. "Last week, GRAMMYs on the Hill brought the stories of artists, composers, producers, and songwriters to Washington, sharing the challenges of their industry and the robust solutions provided by the Music Modernization Act. The Recording Academy and an array of stakeholders have helped a bipartisan group of legislators protect an American art form, and I'm grateful for the consensus that was reflected in today's vote."

The Recording Academy honored Reps. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Doug Collins (R-Ga.) with the GRAMMYs on the Hill Award for their work on improving the environment for music by advocating for music creators' rights. Three-time GRAMMY winners Little Big Town were also honored at GRAMMYs on the Hill for their support of the Recording Academy's key advocacy and organizational causes. Other attendees that met with members of Congress to advocate for the passage of the Music Modernization Act on GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day included GRAMMY-winning producer Peter Asher, GRAMMY-nominated rapper Bun B, Brann Dailorand Bill Kelliher of GRAMMY-winning metal band Mastodon, 14-time GRAMMY-winning singer and producer Jerry Douglas, Latin GRAMMY®-winning singer/songwriter and co-writer of "Despacito" Erika Ender, GRAMMY-winning producer and engineer David Frost, GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter and producer Anthony Hamilton of GRAMMY-nominated R&B band the Hamiltones, GRAMMY-nominated producer Scott "Tycho" Hansen, John Driskell Hopkins of the GRAMMY-winning Zac Brown Band, GRAMMY-winning producer and songwriterRodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, singer/songwriter and entertainer Robert Earl Keen, GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb, GRAMMY-winning songwriter, producer, and engineer Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell, GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Fantastic Negrito, GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Justin Roberts, and keyboardist Ben Tanner of GRAMMY-winning blues rock band Alabama Shakes.

The Music Modernization Act unites provisions from four previously introduced bills—the Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) Act, the CLASSICS Act, the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, and a songwriter-specific version of the Music Modernization Act—under one legislative umbrella to ensure advancement and protections for all music creators.

As the only organization that represents all music creators—performers, songwriters, and studio professionals— the Recording Academy has been championing the need for music reform for the past 20 years, when the Academy first established a presence in Washington, D.C.

A hearing is expected to be scheduled in the Senate within the coming weeks.

For more information about the Recording Academy's ongoing advocacy work,, follow @GRAMMYAdvocacy on Twitter, and "like"GRAMMY Advocacy on Facebook.