What is the Music Modernization Act? How to Collect Your Royalties

The music industry has been in a state of rapid change for the past few decades. What began as a move from analog to digital media has become a total paradigm shift in how listeners interact with music. But the systems that support artists and industry pros and help them get credit for their work […] The post What is the Music Modernization Act? How to Collect Your Royalties appeared first on LANDR Blog.

What is the Music Modernization Act? How to Collect Your Royalties

The music industry has been in a state of rapid change for the past few decades.

What began as a move from analog to digital media has become a total paradigm shift in how listeners interact with music.

But the systems that support artists and industry pros and help them get credit for their work have been slow to catch up.



That’s why the US government has implemented new legislation called the Music Modernization Act (MMA) to help the industry.

It sounds promising, but what is the MMA? Why was it passed and how does it affect your music?

In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about the Music Modernization Act.

 

What is the music modernization act?

The music modernization act is a bill of US legislation that aims to reform music copyright. The idea is to make it easier for rights holders to receive fair compensation as streaming becomes the dominant way people listen to music.

The MMA and its associated bills the CLASSICS and AMP act take aim at section 115 of the US Copyright act in one of the most sweeping reforms to copyright in two decades.

Here are the most important takeaways from the changes:

The US government has implemented new legislation called the Music Modernization Act (MMA) to help the industry.

  • A government-designated non-profit called the MLC (Mechanical Licensing Collective) will take over collecting and distributing royalties
  • Recording engineers, sound engineers and mix engineers will be able to collect royalties by sending a letter of direction to Sound Exchange
  • Pre 1972 recordings will receive more protection under copyright law


How can you take advantage of the Music Modernization Act?

Music copyright in the US has lagged behind developments in technology and changes to the industry.

Starting in 2021 the MLC will collect royalties paid from digital music providers and distribute them to artists.

The result is that songwriters, artists and other rights holders have often struggled to get paid on time—even when their work is well represented.

Here’s what you can do to best take advantage of these systems.

1. Make sure your metadata is correct

When you upload your music to a digital distribution service make sure your metadata is properly entered.

You need everything to be correctly entered in order to receive your ISRC codes which make it possible for the government and performing rights organizations (PROs) to track usage of your content.

2. Send a Letter of Direction to Soundexchange

If you have credits as a music producer, mixer or sound engineer you may receive royalties from SoundExchange—a new non-profit set up by the US government to make these payments.

If you have credits as a music producer, mixer or sound engineer you may receive royalties from SoundExchange.

All you have to do is send in a Letter of Direction to the SoundExchange and you’ll be set up to receive your royalties.

3. Register your work with the Mechanical Licensing Collective

Starting in 2021 the MLC will collect royalties paid from digital music providers and distribute them to artists.

Remember, these royalties are collected for the right to reproduce and distribute musical works.



These royalties are not paid in the same way ASCAP or BMI’s royalties, which are paid based on individual performances of a musical work.

The best way to make sure you’re getting paid is to make sure your works are identified and matched in the MLC’s database.

4. Don’t forget to register with the Copyright Office

The MLC is not a stand-in for registration with the Copyright Office.

So you’ll also need to also register your music there if you want to be eligible for legal coverage if you enter any legal disputes or collect damages due to copyright infringements.

5. Don’t forget to register with your PRO

Registering with the MLC is just one avenue for collecting all your royalties.

If you aren’t registered with a PRO like ASCAP or BMI make sure to get that done too, since registration with the MLC will not help you collect the performance royalties the PROs payout.

How does the Music Modernization Act affect you?

The MMA is an important step toward fair compensation for anyone who holds a music copyright.

If you’re the sole creator of your original work—that means you!

For independent creators who play multiple roles in their music, proper collection, attribution and dispensation of royalties is crucial.

That’s why in 2021 it’s time to make sure you’re fairly compensated for every role you play in producing, creating and publishing your music!