The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Music Modernization Act (MMA) by unanimous voice vote on June 28.
The MMA includes language that will formally establish a role for Congress as the Department of Justice reviews consent decrees with the two largest performing rights organizations — ASCAP and BMI — which collectively license over 90 percent of the musical works that are played on local radio and television stations (Section 105, page 143).
“NAB strongly supports the Music Modernization Act, and applauds the efforts of Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Senators Hatch, Whitehouse and their cosponsors on this bill. This balanced legislation provides much needed reforms to the music licensing market to the benefit of songwriters, legacy recording artists, producers, digital streaming services and music users,” NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said in a statement.
“In particular, NAB applauds the inclusion of language in today’s managers’ amendment that ensures enhanced congressional oversight of the DOJ’s announced review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. The framework provided by these decrees is essential to a functioning music marketplace and they were comprehensively reviewed just two years ago with the DOJ concluding that their continued existence is squarely in the public interest. Any action to terminate these decrees must be preceded by Congressional action to ensure that songwriters, licensees and consumers will not be harmed. NAB looks forward to working with all Senators as the Music Modernization Act moves forward and urges its swift passage.”