Saturday, April 20, 2024

At Last: Music Modernization Act Passes the Senate, with Classics Act Covering Pre-1972 Recordings and Songs


Yesterday the Senate passed the Music Modernization Act, which includes something called the Classics Act. The House already approved it. Now the bill goes back to the House, where it should be reconfirmed, and then it must be signed by the president. Once that happens, millions of musicians whose music was made before 1972 will start getting paid.

The bill revamps Section 115 of the U.S. Copyright Act, combining three major pieces of legislation:

The Music Modernization Act, which streamlines the music licensing process to make it easier for rights holders to get paid when their music is streamed online.
The CLASSICS Act (Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society Act) for pre-1972 recordings.
The AMP Act (or Allocation for Music Producers Act), which improves royalty payouts for producers and engineers from SoundExchange when their recordings are used on satellite and online radio. Notably, this is the first time producers have ever been mentioned in copyright law.

This will be a shock to Sirius XM and other online music sources, but it had to happen. The party is over. Great people like Aretha Franklin and Phil Ramone didn’t live long enough tp see this happen. But their heirs will finally see some reward, and plenty of living artists who’ve struggled financially will benefit. Good news for a change!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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