Monday, January 29, 2018

"Music Modernization Act" introduced by songwriting senator

Posted By on Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 9:18 AM

  • Photo: Katherine Welles / Shutterstock
For those who think music has been getting a bit stale of late, a new bill introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch, Lamar Alexander, and Sheldon Whitehouse might sound like the perfect solution.

Unfortunately, the “Music Modernization Act,” which was introduced earlier this week, isn’t quite as beguiling as its title may suggest. In fact, the legislation would have little or no impact on the music itself, but would instead update copyright laws while changing the manner, and amount, of royalties paid by broadcasters and streaming services to music creators and copyright holders.

Not surprisingly, musicians and those who love them (publishers, drug dealers etc.) are all for the legislation, while lobbyists for the National Association of Broadcasters are spending their hard-earned dollars to kill it.

The plight of music creators is particular near and dear to the heart of Senator Alexander (R-TN), who co-wrote Nashville country artist Lee Brice’s 2010 semi-tearjerker “Falling Apart Together,” which begins:

“My baby's sweet talkin' the cable man
While I'm a diggin' around up here
Sweatin' my ass off in the attic
Trying to find the rabbit ears”

The senator actually came by his credit the easy way, since his sole contribution was relating a story to the songwriters about an elderly couple he’d met who were going through hard times and told him they’re “falling apart together.” Brice ran with it, and the rest is history. (These sort of things happen in Nashville all the time.) According to his 2016 financial disclosure statement, the senator's royalties that year added up to $101.75.

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