News Releases

Friday, May 11, 2018

Isakson Joins Bipartisan Group of Senators to Introduce Music License Reform

Would update music licensing laws for 21st century; ensure fair compensation for songwriters, engineers, producers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., this week joined a bipartisan group of senators to introduce a major music license reform bill to bring outdated music licensing laws into the 21st century and create a fairer marketplace for songwriters and other content creators.

The package, which is called the Music Modernization Act, S.2823, combines three previously introduced pieces of legislation—the Music Modernization Act, the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act, and the Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) Act.

“The music industry in Georgia is legendary, and our talent pool of songwriters, musicians, producers, and others in the industry seems to be growing every day,” said Isakson. “The Music Modernization Act is broadly supported by performers as well as producers and distributors, and it would make a big difference in helping ensure that all of the talented people who play a role in creating music receive fair compensation for their work. I am especially grateful to Congressman Doug Collins for his tireless work on this legislation to ensure that outdated music licensing laws are updated for modern technologies.”

The legislation was led by U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and a bipartisan group of senators including Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., Chris Coons, D-Del., Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Mike Crapo, R-Ind., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Doug Jones, D-Ala., John Kennedy, R-La., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., David Perdue, R-Ga., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

Isakson joined in introducing the first portion of the package, the Music Modernization Act in January 2018.

A similar package recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelming vote of 415-0. The bill introduced in the Senate on May 10, 2018, has strong support across the music industry and will make a real difference for songwriters, recording artists, producers, sound engineers, digital music companies, and other music stakeholders.

The Music Modernization Act creates a new, simplified licensing system to make it easier for digital music companies to obtain a license for songs. The simplified system will also ensure songwriters are paid the royalties they are owed. Additionally, the bill revises outdated songwriter royalty standards to ensure songwriters are paid a fair market rate for their work.

The Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act adjusts compensation for federal copyright protections, which were extended to sound recordings produced after 1972. The legislation requires digital music services to pay for the use of pre-1972 sound recordings in the same way and at the same rate they pay for recordings made after 1972. SoundExchange, the entity that collects and distributes digital performance royalties for sound recordings, will collect royalties for pre-1972 recordings, as it does for recordings made after 1972.

The Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) Act would codify into law the common practice of distributing a share of royalties from a sound recording to the producers and engineers that worked on them. Those producers and engineers who worked on sound recordings would be able to apply for a share of the royalties.