The Music Modernization Act has been officially approved the U.S. Senate, thanks to a unanimous fast-track vote.
The ‘hotline’ voting process is designed to fast-track the bill without an official debate. The trick worked, with ‘unanimous consent’ from all 100 Senators or at least no oppositions.
Now, the 185-page bill heads back to the U.S. House of Representatives, where various adjustments will be integrated with the earlier House version. Earlier, the bill passed unanimously in the House as well, though significant changes to the legislation have since occurred.
“The bill is a great step forward towards an impartial music ecosystem that works better for music creators, services, and fans,” the Content Creators Union declared. The group is just one of several industry organizations cheering the win, including the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), SoundExchange, and others.
The bill, in three parts, gives something to different rights holders, thanks to compromises from most of the industry including music licensees. But while the legislation has been described as compromise legislation, it had to overcome an aggressive lobbying effort by SiriusXM that the company said was designed to improve the bill to be fair to their services. Rights holders responded, accusing the satellite radio service of trying to disrupt the entire legislation. As it is, on Monday about 150 artists said they were going to organize a boycott against SiriusXM majority stakeholder, Liberty Media, if the bill didn’t pass.
“Today is a momentous day for songwriters, artists, composers, producers, engineers and the entire industry that revolves around them,” said National Music Publishers’ Association President and CEO David Israelite in a statement.
“The Senate vote marks a true step forward towards fairness for the people at the heart of music who have long been undervalued due to outdated laws. This was a long and complex process but ultimately the music industry has come out stronger and more united than ever.”
With the Music Modernization Act’s passing in the Senate, the industry had to wait through an anxious few days, as the legislation went through the fast-track hotline process. Over a 24-hour period, all 100 Senators were notified the bill would be put off for unanimous consent approval and wouldn’t need a vote, so long as none of them objected. As of Tuesday, 82 senators had signed on as co-sponsors, but it was unclear if all of the 18 remaining senators were onboard.