Trump signs Music Modernization Act into law (Kid Rock, Mike Love & more were there)
President Donald Trump signed the Music Modernization Act bill today, which updates copyright/publishing laws into the digital age. In attendance at the signing were a number of musicians, including Kid Rock, Mike Love (Beach Boys), Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (Steely Dan / Doobie Brothers), Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, as well as exiting Grammys president Neil Portnow and more. (Kanye West was reported to have been invited but was not in attendance.) The bill won bipartisan support in September and will create an independent, nonprofit entity that will license songs to online streaming companies, pay musicians who made music previous to 1970 which was before current copyright laws protected their work, and more.
"The Music Modernization Act closes loopholes in our digital royalties laws to ensure that songwriters, artists and producers receive fair payment for licensing of music," said Trump right before signing it. "I've been reading about this for many years and never thought I'd be involved in it, but I got involved in it. They were treated very unfairly. They're not going to be treated unfairly anymore." It is not likely to be that simple, as Billboard reports:
In addition to changing some standards by which songwriting royalty rates are set by the Copyright Royalty Board and the ASCAP and BMI rate courts, the MMA creates a blanket mechanical license and a collective to oversee that process and administer the collection, payments and reporting to songwriters and publishers.
"The signing of the Music Modernization Act into law, by the President, is the culmination of a gargantuan struggle that was resolved by an unparalleled alliance between all music industry stakeholders and the relevant tech companies," A2IM CEO Richard Burgess said in a statement. "In this digital age, more music is enjoyed by more people than at any time in the history of humankind. The signing of this bill represents a significant step towards better lives for music creators and those that support them. A standing ovation is greatly deserved for all involved in this historic achievement."
Yet, sources have been suggesting to Billboard since the beginning of the effort to get the MMA passed that now the real infighting will begin over the set-up and regulations.
Moreover, the collective is supposed to build an industry-wide, comprehensive public database that will match compositions to recordings, an ambitious undertaking that has yet to be successfully completed in past industry attempts.
You can watch video of the signing, which includes remarks from Kid Rock, Mike Love, and more, below.