[Editor Charlie sez: Great analysis from Paul Resnikoff on the catastrophic Music Modernization Act, the first legislation of the post-copyright era.]
The ‘Music Modernization Act’ is being heralded as groundbreaking legislation for music and tech. But indie songwriters and publishers feel like they’re getting the shaft.
Most music industry bills face brutal deaths, outmatched by stronger, smarter opponents. The RIAA has been flopping on the Hill for decades, despite seven-figure salaries and pricey DC offices.
Somehow, opponents like Google and broadcast radio always seem to win.
All of which makes the ‘Music Modernization Act’ a surprising change. Instead of another uphill battle, this bill has support from both sides, including Spotify and the tech lobby. Major publishers, represented by longtime NMPA honcho David Israelite, are all voting yes.
Similarly, major labels are also on board, thanks partly to their significant equity stakes in Spotify.
The big three demanded those shares years ago, and now, the parties are mutually aligned. A smashing Spotify success on Wall Street could bring billions to the balance sheets of Universal, Warner and Sony, not to mention continued royalty streams.
It’s a cigar fat enough for everyone to puff.
Accordingly, the Music Modernization Act puts away a pesky royalty nightmare for Spotify. Instead of having to fight billions in publishing lawsuits, the Act draws a forgiveness line in the sand. And forget about the troubled HFA — this bill calls for a brand-new collection system that will be created by the platforms themselves.
It’s a new, simple structure for paying publishing royalties and tracking rights owners — without the legal fees, class actions, and bad press.
Sounds great — unless you’re an independent publisher or songwriter.