Trump Signs Law Guaranteeing Royalties for Pre-1972 Music

(CN) – President Donald Trump on Thursday signed the Music Modernization Act into law, guaranteeing royalty payments to artists and songwriter for pre-1972 recordings, and increased compensation for works played by streaming services.

Among those on hand for the signing ceremony, which was held in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, were Kid Rock, Mike Love of The Beach Boys, Doobie Brothers guitarist Jeff Baxter, and Sam Moore, of the legendary Stax Records duo Sam & Dave.

The Legislation has three main provisions. It creates an organization charged with overseeing a mechanical licensing database, and ensuring copyright owners are paid when songs are streamed on services; it mandates that artists receive royalties on songs recorded before 1972, closing a digital radio loophole that prevented digital radio from being obligated to pay royalties on songs released before 1972, and it creates a uniform payment process for music producers to receive royalties.

It passed Congress unanimously last month, after streaming services agreed to new royalty regimes and withdrew their opposition to the bill. After he signed the bill and held it aloft, Trump congratulated lawmakers, including Senators Chuck Grassley, Lamar Alexander, Orrin Hatch, Darrell Issa, for championing the legislation.

“They got it done,” the president said.

“The Music Modernization Act closes loopholes in our digital royalty laws to ensure that songwriters, artists, producers, and providers receive fair payment for the licensing of music,” he said. “I’ve been reading about this for many years. Never thought I’d be involved in it, but I got involved in it. They were treated very unfairly. They’re not going to be treated unfairly anymore.”

He then turned to the musicians present and quipped, “We should have gotten a little free music out of it!”

In a statement, Mitch Glazier, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, said “the enactment of this law demonstrates what music creators and digital services can do when we work together collaboratively to advance a mutually beneficial agenda.”

“With the passage of this law, every professional songwriter in America, including myself, who has suffered devastating economic losses in the era of digital music delivery, can now breathe a sigh of relief,” said Nashville Songwriter Association International President Steve Bogard.

“Along with the songs that bear my name, this is my proudest career accomplishment,” he said.

After the signing, Kid Rock said Trump doesn’t always get credit for his accomplishments. Rock called the bill “a great start” to make the music industry fairer.



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