The US Senate has approved the Music Modernization Act of 2018, S.2334, with unanimous consent, bringing the first reform for music licensing in 20 years on the cusp of becoming law.
The companion version in the House previously passed in April, also with unanimous consent. The bill now must be reconsidered by the House and then ultimately signed by President Trump. Both of those are likely to happen, so the Senate was the last major hurdle.
Although the Music Modernization Act was overwhelmingly supported by artists, songwriters, and every other corner of the music industry (and many government officials), it met opposition this summer. Blackstone Group, whose mechanical licensing company Harry Fox Agency stands to be greatly impacted by the MMA, as well as Sirius XM and Music Choice, pushed back against the bill.
While issues with the Blackstone Group found a resolution, the dispute with Sirius XM and Music Choice was still very much at the forefront. Sirius XM objected to a portion of the bill called the CLASSICS Act, which makes them legally responsible to pay songwriters and artists royalties on pre-1972 recordings.
Now that it has passed the Senate, the bill has been renamed the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act after Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a songwriter himself who was a strong advocate for the MMA and called it “crucially important.”