Musicians and their advocates are claiming it’s only a matter of weeks before copyright reform legislation passes. The long-awaited Music Modernization Act has bipartisan support.
The measure cleared the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year, but it's been stalled in the Senate, amid a heavy lobbying campaign from private companies involved in collecting and distributing royalties.
Pushback has been coming since the summer. One holdout has been Blackstone, a private equity firm bought into the music industry last year when it acquired SESAC. It worries about its investment being devalued. Concerns are also coming from a few streaming service providers, like Sirius XM, who say they are already fairly compensating artists.
Billboard magazine reports that late last week Sirius sent a letter to the Senate outlining its objections, which include a claim that they'd have to pay again for music produced before 1972 that the company has already licensed.
But, compromises have already been made, says Bart Herbison, executive director of the Nashville Songwriters Association International.
“We worked everything else out. We made huge offers, compromise offers. We being the music industry, really the record labels and artists to Sirius XM. And they haven’t agreed to them. If they aren’t careful, a bill is going to pass, and they aren’t going to get anything out it.”
Another strong supporter of copyright licensing reform has been Senator Lamar Alexander. He agrees with Herbison and says the bill is likely to pass in the upcoming weeks.
“We’ve had terrific support from the entire music community,” he says. “We’ve had good bipartisan support.”