A total of 60 Senators — well over half of the legislative body — support the passage of the Music Modernization Act (MMA). And while the MMA was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives in April with a 415–0 vote and passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee in June, in order to get final sign off from President Trump, it must pass a full Senate vote before it’s too late.
As Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) explained, “All I know is that we need to get that done.” Whether you’re a musician, small business owner or weekend regular at a local bar, it’s easy to see why.
The MMA, arguably America’s biggest attempt at music copyright overhaul in decades, will significantly impact how and where music is played, as well as, what users and consumers pay for it. And language included by the Senate Judiciary Committee to preserve the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees will further ensure that the artists, songwriters and creatives driving today’s hits and modern classics can continue to rely on these protections.
That’s why the MIC Coalition fully supports the passage of the MMA as it stands and is grateful for the leadership the Senate Judiciary Committee has shown in ensuring the bill reaches the Senate floor with language fully protecting the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees.
And although Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division at the Department of Justice (DOJ), has indicated that he doesn’t intend to expedite the termination of these decrees, there’s still concern among the music community that the process could begin any day.
Terminating these decrees would be extraordinarily disruptive for the entire music ecosystem — jeopardizing the licensing system that enables millions of businesses across the country to efficiently play and pay for music performed publicly. Not only could this move be extremely problematic, it also goes against the Department’s previous findings on the importance of consent decrees. The ultimate result of such action would cause substantial harm to music lovers and small businesses alike.
While it’s apparent that additional oversight will be required as the process continues, one important step in maintaining the Senate Judiciary Committee’s oversight over DOJ is passing the MMA. As the congressional session nears its end and with unparalleled support from disparate corners of the music industry, its vital the MMA pass through the Senate before landing on the president’s desk.