At the White House on Thursday, President Donald Trump signed the Music Modernization Act into law. The act was created to support songwriters and artists by updating licensing and royalty rules to reflect modern streaming rules. The bill cleared the U.S. Senate last month, and was approved by the House before stopping with President Trump, who needed to sign the bill for it to go into effect.
Kanye West was reported to be present for the bill’s signing, but was not among the variety of artists Trump thanked for attending the press conference. Trump called out Kid Rock, Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Doobie Brothers’ Jeff Baxter, John Rich, MercyMe, Craig Morgan, Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave), and Recording Academy President Neil Portnow.
The Music Modernization Act (MMA) is the biggest attempt at music copyright overhaul in decades. Songwriters’ rates for streaming songs are currently determined by a 1909 law, while a 1941 law determines performance royalties. Songwriters and artists do not receive royalties on songs recorded before 1972. Under the MMA, the licensing process would become more streamlined, paying out the royalties of songs recorded before 1972 and giving producers royalties as well. MMA would also set up a Music Licensing Collective to collect and pay out royalties from digital service providers.