New legislation aims to improve royalty rates for songwriters

CD Baby supports efforts to improve the way mechanical and performance royalties are calculated.

The music industry is a completely different beast than it was when the copyright laws currently governing royalty rates were written. Some of the framework that impacts music copyright and what you earn as a songwriter doesn’t just pre-date streaming, it pre-dates the widespread availability of ANY recorded music!

It’s time for a much-needed update.

Songwriters deserve to get paid more, and after months of tough discussions and compromise between the tech and music sectors, bipartisan legislation is now being proposed towards that end which has the support of rights owners (labels and publishers), performing rights organizations (such as ASCAP and BMI), and digital music services (like Spotify and YouTube).

CD Baby is encouraging all artists who write original music to SIGN THIS PETITION in support of The Music Modernization Act of 2017.

The letter, addressed to member of the United States Congress, says:

Songwriters are egregiously underpaid because laws governing the music industry have not kept pace with technology. The Music Modernization Act of 2017 will change that. This bill is the most significant update to music copyright law in over a generation and represents an unprecedented agreement between the music and technology industries. We, as the songwriters most affected by 100-year-old policies that reduce our royalties, encourage Congress to pass this legislation as soon as possible.

The Music Modernization Act is a bipartisan effort that will greatly improve the way mechanical and performance royalties are calculated. Today, digital services like Spotify, Apple, Pandora, Amazon and Google often do not know who to pay and money is lost to lack of information and inefficiency. The Music Modernization Act will create an entity, funded by the digital music companies, that will properly pay mechanical royalties for interactive streaming. It also gives songwriters a better shot at getting higher royalty rates in the Copyright Royalty Board proceedings. Additionally, it reforms the system that determines performance royalty rates for ASCAP and BMI by allowing rate courts to review market evidence into the valuation of how songwriters are compensated as well as giving them improvements to the rate court process.

Who else is supporting The Music Modernization Act of 2017?

Support for the bill has been voiced by both the Digital Music Association (representing Amazon, Apple, Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube) AND organizations who advocate for songwriter rights, including:

  • The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA)
  • The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI)
  • The Songwriters of North America (SONA)
  • The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
  • Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI)
  • The Church Music Publishers’ Association (CMPA)
  • The Production Music Association (PMA)
  • MusicAnswers
  • The Music Publishers Association (MPA)
  • The Council of Music Creators (CMC)
  • The Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL)
  • The Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP)

If you’re a songwriter who’s concerned about royalties in the digital age, you can lend your support too by signing the petition HERE.