What is the Music Modernization Act? How Does it Affect the Music Industry?

May 22 2024

The Music Modernization Act is a significant piece of legislation aimed at modernizing copyright law in the digital age. This act addresses several key issues that have emerged over the past two decades and aims to ensure that artists, songwriters, producers, and engineers are properly compensated for their work.

One of the primary focuses of the Music Modernization Act is on licensing for interactive streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal. These platforms initially struggled to appropriately compensate songwriters for their work, as they only paid for the sound recording and not the underlying composition. The act mandates that these services obtain two licenses: a compulsory license for public performance and a mechanical license for reproduction, ensuring compensation for both the sound recording and the underlying work.

The act also addresses the issue of identifying and compensating songwriters in the digital age. Streaming services often found it challenging to locate and pay the appropriate rights holders for the music they streamed, leading to lawsuits for copyright infringement. To streamline this process, the act establishes the Mechanical Licensing Collective, a non-profit entity responsible for collecting and distributing digital mechanical royalties. Songwriters must register with this collective to ensure they receive their royalties accurately.

Additionally, the Music Modernization Act includes provisions such as the CLASSICS Act, which extends federal copyright protection to sound recordings made before 1972, and the Allocation for Music Producers Act (AMP Act), which ensures that producers and engineers receive royalties for their contributions to tracks.

Overall, the Music Modernization Act represents a significant step forward for the music industry, providing much-needed updates to copyright law and ensuring that all stakeholders receive compensation for their contributions. By addressing licensing issues, improving royalty collection and distribution, and extending copyright protection, the act lays the groundwork for a more profitable and sustainable music ecosystem.


Erin Moorman has a Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Industry Studies from Delta State University and a Master of Arts in Music Business from Visible Music College. In addition to her experience working for a record label she has already held an Adjunct Professor position teaching multiple music business classes.