Understanding the Music Modernization Act | Songwriting | Music Publishing | Royalties | Streaming


So have you heard about the Music Modernization Act? If you’re a music publisher, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of e-mails for the past two years, urging you to contact your congressman or your senator about the bill. If you’re really lucky, maybe you’ve been invited to an industry panel where experts discussed the issue and tossed around acronyms as if they were radio station call letters, wondering whether the MMA would enable the MLC to work with the NMPA to eliminate the HFA in the collection of royalties as provided by the CRB. Wow, that sounds really confusing, you say, “I’m glad I’m just a songwriter.” Well, I have news for you. If you’re a songwriter, you’re also a music publisher. Congratulations. You became one the minute you wrote your first song. You’re not only the songwriter of that song, you’re also the publisher. This means that the Music Modernization Act was created specifically for you. It will change how you get paid and probably how much you get paid. So it’s worth taking a few minutes to try to understand what this thing is all about. [MUSIC] In fact, it has almost nothing to do with music at all. It should actually be called, helping musicians get money for their Music Modernization Act because like most things that the government and the courts are involved in, it’s actually about money. The Music Modernization Act is legislation that was passed into law in 2018 in the United States. The process began in 2017 in the face of real desperation from songwriters and music publishers who were watching as the streaming business drove their own business straight down the drain. With songwriters and publishers really staring into the abyss, David Israelite, the CEO of the National Music Publishers Association and probably the closest thing we’ll get to a hero in this particular story, pushed for legislation that would address the critical issues between the digital service providers and the songwriting community. As the bill progressed, eventually all sides of the music industry got involved and it was finally passed into law in 2018. It involved all sectors of the music industry. Music publishers and songwriters on one hand, record labels and artists on the other hand, and the digital service providers, people like Spotify, Google, Apple, Amazon, and Pandora who were largely represented by the Digital Media Association. The goal of this effort was to address issues on all sides of the streaming business. Songwriters and publishers primarily wanted to address the issue of raising royalty rates. At that time, record labels and artists were receiving five times the amount for the sound recording as music publishers and songwriters were receiving for the composition. But music publishers also wanted to address the issue of unlicensed music that was being used on the various digital sites. At that time, much of the music that was being used on the sites was not licensed properly. Royalties were either not being paid at all or they were being paid to the wrong people. The labels, for their part, wanted to ensure that whatever gains were made by the music publishers and songwriters didn’t come at their expense. They also wanted to protect these new digital streaming services as they were making a lot of money from them. In fact, the major record companies had a significant investment in Spotify specifically. The digital services, on the other hand, wanted to simplify the way they were able to license music and pay out royalties, which had proven to be very difficult and was in fact getting dangerous. At that time, Spotify had already been hit with several large lawsuits over unlicensed music that appeared on the site. When the Music Modernization Act became law in 2018, everyone celebrated the fact that the warring factions of the various parts of the music industry had come together to find a way forward, like children on a playground who decided to quit pummeling themselves into oblivion and organize a polite game of kickball instead. David Israelite said, and I quote, “For the first time in history, the music industry has partnered with the tech industry to fix these systemic problems.” I’ll let you know how that worked out a little bit later. The bill itself is a play in three acts. The first Act is the Music Modernization Act. This is the one that we’ll be focusing on because it’s the one that most directly affect songwriters and music publishers. Act II is the CLASSICS Act. This applies primarily to older artists, whose work was done prior to 1972. They will now be able to collect royalties for the use of their work on digital and satellite radio just as contemporary artists do. The third act is the Allocation for Music Producers Act. This will actually allow music producers, engineers, and mixers to receive royalties directly for the use of their work on digital and satellite radio. As I said, for our purposes here, we’ll focus primarily on the Music Modernization Act because that’s where the money is for songwriters and music publishers. It’s important to understand that the Music Modernization Act does not do anything that’s going to change songwriters’ lives overnight. In fact, like most things the government does, it doesn’t change anything overnight. What it does do is establish a framework for the way that the digital service providers on one side, Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon and Pandora interact with the music community, specifically, songwriters and music publishers, on the other side. It changes the way the two sides negotiate with each other, but it doesn’t specifically control the negotiations themselves. In a sense, it’s a little bit like redrawing the foul lines on a baseball diamond, moving the fences in about 10 feet, moving the pitcher up two steps closer and then throwing the ball back to the players to play it out for themselves. At this point, the field has been reconfigured, but the game has not yet begun. [MUSIC] The Music Modernization Act tackles two basic problems, how the services that use music on their streaming sites will be able to license the music and how much they will pay for it. So let’s start today by addressing the first way in which the Music Modernization Act addresses the how of licensing music. This is really the most significant change contained in the Music Modernization Act, the creation of a new licensing entity from mechanical rights. Right now, in order to put any music on their site, Spotify and Apple need to have a mechanical license in place from all the music publishers involved on any song they use, and they have to pay out a mechanical royalty to those publishers for the use of the music. Failure to do that puts them in the position of infringing on a copyright, which can lead to large financial penalties, I mean, very large. Spotify recently paid a $112 million to settle a court case over the use of several songs, not even particularly big hit songs, without a license in place and without royalties being properly paid. Spotify settled the case, but they knew that it was not the end of the problem. Under the current system of music licensing, this problem would happen again and again and again. Why? [MUSIC] Those of you who have studied music publishing in courses like Music Publishing 101, the course I designed for Berklee Online, are probably familiar with the idea of mechanical rights and mechanical licenses. Anytime a sound recording is created, it creates a corresponding mechanical right for that songwriter. This just means the songwriter has the right to control any mechanical reproduction of that song and to be compensated for the use of it. Anyone who sells or benefits from that recording, whether it’s a record label, selling MP3s on iTunes or a streaming service selling subscriptions, has to compensate that songwriter and have a license in place for the use of that music. Mechanical license requires that a record label or in this case, a streaming service, pay the songwriter a percentage from whatever was earned from the use of that song. This system of mechanical rights and mechanical royalties has been going on for a long time, all the way back to player pianos and vinyl albums. This is not the modernization part. This is where we’re at now. It sounds simple, right? In order to use your song on my streaming service, I have to get your permission and then pay you a percentage of what I earn. [MUSIC] Here’s the problem. Many contemporary hit songs have as many as five, six, even 10 songwriters on one single song. Some of those songwriters may have publishing representation, others may have no publishing representation. Some may have changed their publisher or sold their publishing rights in between the time when the song was created and the stream actually occurred. Those five or six songwriters may not agree on the division of ownership between them for the song, and nothing can be licensed until that particular issue is settled. Some of those songwriters may have different publishers for different territories of the world. There may be different versions of that song, each with different songwriters and publishers who have to be accounted to, and the digital streaming services have to deal with this song by song by song. You’re getting it. It’s a nightmare, and it’s especially problematic if your service has say the modest goal of putting all the music in the world on its site, and you’re racing two other companies to see who can do it faster. [MUSIC] When any digital service wants to make music available on its site, it sends out a notice of intention to all the music publishers involved in that song or if it’s not sure who the music publishers are, to the Copyright Office. As you can imagine, music publishers and the Copyright Office are being flooded by these notices of intention, which arrive in bulk mailings often from services that will never get off the ground, sometimes for songs that the publisher no longer controls and for which if the song is used, the publisher will earn maybe one dollar for every 10,000 streams. It’s incredibly time consuming and costly for music publishers to process all of these mechanical license requests, and frankly, they can’t keep up with demand, particularly because music services need to be able to make the song available when the song is released, not six months later, and of course, if there’s a mistake or perhaps a willful decision by a digital streaming service to say we’re not sure who the publishers are or the songwriters, but we’ll put it up on the site anyway, there’s the potential for a lawsuit. The one universal truth recognized by the technology industry and the music industry in the Music Modernization Act, is that the current system of mechanical licensing is simply not capable of handling the demands that are being placed upon it. So what do you do when there’s a fire burning in the middle of your office? You throw a blanket on it. [MUSIC] The Music Modernization Act proposes a fundamental change in the way that mechanical rights are licensed. It would create one central database called the mechanical licensing collective from which music services could obtain mechanical licenses that are blanket licenses allowing them to use all the music contained in that database. This is similar to the way that radio stations are able to play whatever music they want as often as they want through a blanket license they have with the performing rights organizations like ASCAP, BMI , SESAC, and now GMR. The mechanical licensing collective is like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and GMR all rolled into one but for the purpose of licensing mechanical rights. [MUSIC] So the mechanical licensing collective would create a vast pool of music. It would then decide which music services would be able to acquire a blanket license to use that vast pool of music. It will receive the royalty that such services are required to pay, and it will gather music usage reports to understand what music is being used. Then it will take the money that it’s collected, divide it up based on what music is being used and pay out to people like you and me. It will be a non-profit entity. I think we can be assured of that. It will be responsible for maintaining an accessible database of songs and sound recordings. Those songs and sound recordings can be claimed by the music publisher and the record label. The licensing collective will then work to match up those songs and sound recordings, and it will handle any disputes that might arise of which there will probably be a few. Every songwriter and publisher, that’s you remember, will most likely be responsible for uploading their data, their catalog into this large database and for providing the mechanical licensing collective with the correct payment information for the mechanical royalties that should follow. After that, the mechanical licensing collective will do the rest. It sounds great. There’s only one problem, it doesn’t exist, not yet anyway. Right now, what we have is a timeline to create the mechanical licensing collective. The mechanical licensing collective is committed to be up and running by 2021. Now, a little twist at the end of the story. The mechanical licensing collective will be run under the direction of a board of directors that will be made up of songwriters and music publishers. But the actual funding for the organization will come from the fees that are charged to the digital service providers. People like Amazon and Apple and Google and Spotify. This we run it, you pay for it concept was one of the great kumbaya moments of the Music Modernization Act when it was passed in 2018. But unfortunately, the two sides are no longer holding hands but are rather back to rumpling each other over a different aspect of the Music Modernization Act which pertains to the “how much” question. In other words, we’re all battling again over royalty rates. The problem is, if the two sides are at war with each other, it’s going to take what is already a very difficult task for the mechanical licensing collective and make it very near to impossible. On that note, we’ll end this discussion of this particular topic with a couple of big question marks. Number one, given the complexities of songs splits and music publishing rights which are bought and sold every day, how is it that the mechanical licensing collective will be able to gather all the information they need for all the music in the world and be fully operational by 2021? If the relations between the music publishers and the digital services continues to worsen, will the music services actually fund properly the mechanical licensing collective in order for them to do their job? Do we even know what it would cost for the mechanical licensing collective to do its job? Do the digital services really care how effectively the mechanical licensing collective is able to do its job, or were they really just interested in getting out of having to license things song by song and taking on the legal liability of having unlicensed music on their site? For the answers to these questions and more, stay tuned. [MUSIC] The mechanical licensing collective is the part of the Music Modernization Act that’s gotten the most attention from music publishers and songwriters in part because it represents the biggest change in the way we currently do business. But there’s another aspect of the Music Modernization Act that pertains to how we license music, to digital services like Spotify, Google, Apple, Amazon, and Pandora. This how pertains directly to how much music publishers and songwriters can expect to see their income change when the Music Modernization Act actually takes a fact. But this part of the Music Modernization Act pertains to a different set of rights focused on performing rights, which is the right of a songwriter to control the public use of his or her music. If you’re familiar with music publishing or if you’ve taken music publishing 101 at Berklee Online, this is not the first time you’ve heard about Performing Rights. Performing rights basically establish that a songwriter has the right to license and collect income for any public use of his or her music whether it’s on the radio or on television or in a nightclub, a concert hall, a dentist’s office or even in a restaurant. Any public use of music has to be licensed and that money then comes back to the music publisher and the songwriter. [MUSIC] Streaming services like Spotify came into existence. It raised the question of whether it was a mechanical right because it utilized a mechanical reproduction of the song or a performance right because it was transmitted in a public way over the Internet. The answer was, it’s both. It was decided that interactive or on-demand streams systems like Spotify in which a listener is able to specifically indicate which songs he or she would like to listen to would require both a mechanical license because essentially, the use of the stream eliminated the need to own the recording and also a performance license because it was transmitted in a public way over the Internet. So for every song on a service like Spotify or Apple, the services required to have both the performance and mechanical license in place. When you earn money from having your song played on Spotify or Apple, part of the income is in the form of a mechanical royalty which will be collected by the mechanical licensing collective. The other part is a performing right which is collected by one of the various performing rights organizations. Systems that are not interactive in which the listener can indicate what type of music he or she would like to listen to but not necessarily the specific song like digital radio or an early form of Pandora. Those are considered solely a performance use and her license like radio as a performing right. [MUSIC] A lot of you are probably familiar with the two largest and oldest organizations that license performing rights, ASCAP and BMI. In fact, there are four organizations that license performing rights in the United States: ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and GMR which was started a few years ago by Irving Azoff. Companies who use music in a public way would need to have licenses in place with all four organizations. But today, we’re going to limit our discussions to the two oldest organizations, ASCAP and BMI, because they’re the ones who are directly affected by the Music Modernization Act. The idea of performing rights is not any more modern than the idea of mechanical rights. Both ASCAP and BMI are over 80 years old, and their business model has not really changed much over the years. Both organizations issue what are called blanket licenses for the use of music in a public venue. This blanket license covers all the songs that are controlled by the organization and between the two of them, that’s about 90 percent of the music that’s out there in the world. So if I’m a radio station, I pay a certain fee, usually based on the size of my market or the amount of revenue I bring in to ASCAP and BMI, and in return, I receive a blanket license that allows me to play any of the music controlled by either of those two organizations. ASCAP and BMI then take those fees, divide them out, and share them with their members based on whose music is being used. It’s an old system but in general, it’s worked pretty well and the amount collected has gone up every year to the point where it’s now become the number one source of income for most music publishers. BMI last year paid out over $1 billion in performance royalties. [MUSIC] Overall, the idea of blanket licensing has also worked pretty well which is why the Music Modernization Act proposed a similar system for the licensing of mechanical rights. The problem is not that ASCAP and BMI need to be modernized. The problem is that the laws that govern ASCAP and BMI desperately need to be modernized. In fact, these laws date back to 1941. That’s right, back when your great grandparents were children. That’s when they created the laws that govern how ASCAP and BMI can negotiate with music users to set a rate that you will receive for the use of your music in a public venue. But wait, why do we need laws for that at all, you ask, being the anarchist punk rocker that you are. Well, back in 1941, ASCAP and BMI were pretty much the only game in town. They controlled all the music rights that you would need to license in order to use music in your venue. So naturally, there were concerns about the potential for a monopoly in which ASCAP and BMI could extort extremely high rates for the use of music. As a result, the federal government in 1941 placed ASCAP and BMI under what are called consent decrees. These are restrictions that are placed on companies who have the potential to manipulate or abuse the free market. Because they came along much later SESAC and GMR are not subject to those consent decrees. In fact, GMR was created specifically to help publishers and songwriters get around those consent decrees. [MUSIC] The Consent Decrees to which ASCAP and BMI are subject, were originally intended to promote competition between the two organizations to make sure they competed to attract writer members to their organization. But they were also put in place to ensure that ASCAP and BMI were not able to charge exorbitant rates for people who wanted to use music in a public way. So under the Consent Decree, ASCAP and BMI must offer licenses to any service that asked for one, and they must charge what are called equivalent rates. Meaning they can’t charge one service much more than they charge the other for similar uses. But here’s the real kicker. ASCAP and BMI can negotiate the rate of the blanket license. But if the music user, say a digital service provider, is not happy with the rate that’s being proposed, they can then go to a court, and a judge will decide what the appropriate rate is. At no point can ASCAP and BMI simply walk away from the negotiation and take their license with them. They are bound by whatever the judge decides. Not surprisingly, most of these rate disputes do wind up in court and over the past 20 years, the judges have not been kind to ASCAP or BMI. [MUSIC] There are a number of ironies here. One is that the individual members of ASCAP and BMI, the publishers, are not subject to the Consent Decrees, only ASCAP and BMI are subject to them. So for example, if Sony ATV music wanted to negotiate rates with Pandora, they would be able at any point to threaten to take their catalog full of current and classic hits and simply walk away from the table. But ASCAP and BMI cannot walk away. They are bound by the Consent Decree and whatever the judge decides as far as the rates, nor can Sony ATV opt to simply negotiate on their own for certain things. They tried that and that didn’t work either. The other irony is that a system that was intended to prevent a monopoly in which organizations like ASCAP and BMI were able to extort extremely high rates from music users has actually resulted in a slightly different kind of monopoly in which one single judge can decide the rate at which thousands of songwriters and music publishers have to license their music. This problem has become increasingly obvious over the past 10 years in which the demand for music has soared especially in public venues, and yet the rates have remained largely stagnant. This is clearly not the way the law of supply and demand was supposed to work. [MUSIC] The Music Modernization Act did not give songwriters and publishers everything they would have wanted in relation to the performing rights organizations which would have actually met lifting almost all of the restrictions on ASCAP and BMI during the negotiating process. But it did make a couple of important changes. First, it allows for a rotation of judges to hear the rate disputes. In the past, ASCAP and BMI were each assigned an individual judge who would hear all the rate disputes related to that organization. ASCAP in particular, drew the short straw and wound up with a judge who at times has been openly hostile to the organization and their role in the licensing process. At least this change from the Music Modernization Act eliminates the Groundhog Day effect of going back to the same judge with the same issue and always getting the same result. The Music Modernization Act also allows for the first time ASCAP and BMI to be able to introduce as evidence into the court, the rates being paid for sound recordings which are more than five times what are being paid for the compensation. Even though this disparity has been public knowledge for some time, ASCAP and BMI have never been allowed to introduce it into court and use it as an argument to raise royalty rates. At least now, we can point out that some animals are being treated far more equal than others. [MUSIC] The Music Modernization Act, the legislation that was passed in 2018, tackles two basic problems. We’ve talked about the House side of the equation. How the mechanical licensing collective will change the licensing of mechanical rights and how ASCAP and BMI will be able to negotiate their rates with the digital services that use their music. Now let’s turn our attention to the how much part of the question. How much will the music services like Spotify, Google, Apple, Amazon, and Pandora have to pay for the music they use? How much of that will actually be seen by the songwriters and music publishers, and how much will it change the way that music publishers and songwriters run their business? Well, first of all, I wouldn’t recommend making a down payment on a boat just based on the Music Modernization Act. In the long-term, this bill could be a game changer by establishing a more even playing field between the music users, the digital services that use music on their sites, and the music community particularly the songwriters and publishers. But that’s going to take time, and it’s also going to take a continued growth in the streaming market before the impact is really felt. Right now, here are the ways in which the Music Modernization Act is most likely to affect the bottom line for music publishers and songwriters. The creation of the mechanical licensing collectives should certainly cut down on the administrative costs for music publishers by eliminating the need to process stacks of notices of intention that pile up in the office by reducing the man hours necessary to track income and match it up between songs and sound recordings, and by eliminating the need to research and respond to hundreds of music services who want to use the music. One of the major frustrations with the new streaming economy for music publishers has not only been the very low rates paid but the extremely high costs of trying to administer and collect on the income that’s out there. It’s one thing to earn a dollar for every 10,000 streams. It’s another thing if it takes you six months just to collect that dollar. When the mechanical licensing collective goes into effect in 2021, you, the publisher, will be responsible for uploading your data into the overall collective database. However, after that, the mechanical licensing collective will then take that information, match it up with the correct sound recordings, collect the income, and distribute that money back to the music publishers and songwriters. It will also handle non-payment issues, ownership disputes, and the distribution of unclaimed royalties. Obviously, this particular benefit of the Music Modernization Act is going to be felt much more strongly by large publishers with very active catalogs than by say an individual songwriter. If you have five songs up on Spotify, the mechanical licensing collective is probably not going to change your life in any measurable way. On the other hand, if you have 5,000 songs, it could be the difference between your company being profitable or not profitable. Beyond improving the administration process, the Music Modernization Act is also intended to raise the royalty rates, but it doesn’t do that by setting a specific number. It hopes to do that by changing the way in which the two sides negotiate with each other. Currently, mechanical royalty rates for digital streaming are set by a group of judges called the Copyright Royalty Board. These are three judges who worked for the copyright office. They hear arguments from both sides. The music publishers on one side and the digital service providers on the other and then they decide on what they think will be an appropriate rate for the next five-year period. Traditionally, one of the major factors that the judges were supposed to take into account when considering the proper royalty rate was a concept called disruption. This meant that they were to avoid any kind of rate hike that would disrupt another person’s business. Obviously, this has the effect of keeping the royalty rates considerably lower than they would be in a free market situation. For example, the statutory mechanical rate for physical product right now is 9.1 cents. It has been 9.1 cents since 2007. Yes. That’s right. During a period in which the entire economic universe has been disrupted not once but several times by everything from the Internet to social media to Uber, music users can rest in tranquility knowing that they are free of the disruption that even an extra penny for songwriters might cause. [MUSIC] Under the Music Modernization Act, the new standard that will be applied in these rate negotiations is the idea of a willing buyer, willing seller. Basically, this just means whatever the market will bear. If someone is willing to pay a particular price for a product, then that is reasonably representative of the product’s value in the marketplace. Realistically, changing over to a willing buyer, willing seller principle should raise royalty rates considerably. But just how much is actually anyone’s guess. In fact, the Copyright Royalty Board already reset rates back in 2018, a few months before the Music Modernization Act was passed. At that time, they raised the royalty rates significantly for on-demand music streaming services like Spotify, Apple, Google, and Amazon. Between 2018 and 2022, the royalty rates should go up as much as 43 percent for songwriters and music publishers, from 10.5 percent of the services revenue to 15.1 percent. Keep in mind that as these percentages go up, the size of the music streaming market also increases. So to have a better idea of how much this could actually mean in terms of income, it’s important to try to visualize what the music streaming market might look like in two or three years. Then in 2023 when the rates are reset again, the new principle of willing buyer, willing seller will apply, which should raise rates further. I know you’re envisioning that new tricked out recording studio you’re going to build in your basement, based on the increased royalties from the Music Modernization Act. Well, hang on a second. There’s one more twist to the story. Apparently, some of the buyers, Spotify, Amazon, Google, and Pandora are not as willing as we had hoped. When those royalty rates that I mentioned, the ones that gave you the 40 percent raise were announced back in 2018, there was much rejoicing among the music publishing community. Finally, it seemed we had reached a peace treaty in a long war with the digital services, particularly Spotify, and come out with what we thought was a reasonably favorable result. There would be no more angry anti-Spotify screens from Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke. Now, we would all live together in harmony and work together towards the future. That was until the appeal. In March of 2018, Spotify, Google, Amazon, and Pandora, not Apple, announced that they were planning to appeal the Copyright Royalty Board decision about those rates, the ones that gave you the 40 percent raise. This is the first time that a decision by the Copyright Royalty Board has ever been appealed. As you can imagine, it basically had the effect of Spotify firing a missile into the middle of the ASCAP Expo. David Israelite, last seen championing the fact that the tech industry and the music industry had finally learned to work together, announced that any hope of better relations between the music community and Spotify had been snuffed out. Also, possibly snuffed out is that dream of the recording studio in the basement. It’s anyone’s guess what the appeals court will rule in relation to the Copyright Royalty Board decision. But it’s quite possible that that 43 percent raise you were planning on will not materialize, which leaves us with the performing rights, which is the other income that’s addressed by the Music Modernization Act. The new rules will be that the judges who decide the royalty rates for ASCAP and BMI will work on a rotational basis. So now, there’s only a percentage chance of a judge with a grudge against songwriters ruining your studio renovation plans. At the same time, ASCAP and BMI will be allowed to introduce as evidence, the amount of money being paid for sound recordings as opposed to the composition, which should help our case somewhat. But honestly, these are small changes. ASCAP and BMI remain subject to the consent decrees, which are going to hold royalty rates considerably under their free market value for the foreseeable future. Like most legislation that gets passed in a democratic society, the Music Modernization Act does a little bit of good. It moves things incrementally forward, and it leaves a lot in the realm of TBD to be determined. When it comes to how much the Music Modernization Act will change things for music publishers and songwriters, the answer lies somewhere on a scale between a little, not enough, and better than nothing. We’ll see where it finally winds up. [MUSIC] Personally, my biggest concern about the Music Modernization Act is that there’s this thing that always happens, and it’s called change. After all, someone thought they were pretty modern when they imposed the consent decrees back in 1941. My fear is that one day, probably in 2022, because yes I’m that skeptical, the royalty rates will finally be resolved with the Copyright Royalty Board, the mechanical licensing collective will be ready to go online with its new blockchain-driven technology, and that night I’ll be taking the bus home, and I’ll hear some 12-year-old kid say to his older sister, “Oh yeah, music streaming. I remember when you and your friends were still into that. We don’t really listen to music like that anymore.” Then the whole thing will begin again. Now, you could find that idea depressing or frustrating, and I wouldn’t blame you. I, myself find it oddly reassuring because it means that those of us who’ve taken their time to learn a little something about music publishing will always be needed, and we’ll always have our little corner somewhere in the music universe between the CRB and the MLC and the NMPA. Most songwriters don’t really want to think about this stuff for more than a few minutes a day. So those songwriters who learn about music publishing will always have friends and someone who needs the knowledge they bring. That’s why I want to end today by encouraging all of you to learn as much as you can about the fundamentals of music publishing. One great way to do that is by checking out my course, Music Publishing 101 at Berklee Online. This 12 week course takes you through every step of becoming an effective music publisher for yourself, if you’re a songwriter, or for others. The music business will always change. Progress does not end with the Music Modernization Act. But as the business grows increasingly complex, it’s important to have a very strong grasp of the fundamentals of music publishing so that you can understand how things are changing, and how it will affect you and your clients. Thank you for watching this discussion of the Music Modernization Act. Be sure to check out my course, Music Publishing 101 at Berklee Online. I’ll look forward to seeing you out there in the brave new modern world of music publishing. [MUSIC]

1 thought on “Understanding the Music Modernization Act | Songwriting | Music Publishing | Royalties | Streaming

  • How can someone making music is a closet studio, who's too broke to hire the right people, and is putting said music out on these streaming services find out if all things are in order with the appropriate documentation with those streaming services while we're waiting for the MMA to come to fruition?

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