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'Monumental' change close at hand for Music City songwriters



WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSBORNE)  --  Music City songwriters are on the verge of getting a real shot in the arm following passage of copyright legislation by the U.S. Senate.  


The Music Modernization Act passed the senate this past week. The House passed the measure earlier this year. The Act updates the way songwriters are paid for their work.


Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is a bill sponsor. He noted from the Senate floor that the legislation was a compromise hammered out over several years.


“It’s because the song writers, and the publishers, and the digital music companies, and the broadcasters, and the record labels, and others decided to work together over the last two or three years on what they agree on instead of what they disagree on.”


Music Row veteran Beverly Keel calls the Modernization Act’s passage “monumental.” Keel chairs the Recording Industry department at Middle Tennessee State. She says the Act will be a real boon to an industry that’s fallen on hard times.

“Since 2000 we’ve seen an 80 percent decrease in the number of professional songwriters, and that’s because the amount of money they make has just dropped.”

But Keel goes on to say Congress also needs to update compensation for other music makers. She notes, for example, that musicians still are not paid when songs they recorded are broadcast or streamed.

Senator Lamar Alexander says the Act faces a second, final vote in the House before it heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for his consideration.