Trump’s Music Modernization Act Means Big Money for Millions of Musicians

Kanye West was with Trump as he signed the royalties law.
  • President Trump welcomed Kanye West to the White House for a ceremonial law signing.
  • Driven by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the Music Modernization Act was signed into law on Oct. 11, 2018.
  • The law promises to bring lost wages to digital music creators and artists forgotten in the digital music boom.

Two reality stars met in the White House on Thursday: President Donald Trump welcomed rapper Kanye West for a signing ceremony of the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed.

The bill is a long-awaited measure by recording artists and the industry and will allow for electronically licensed music and streamlined royalty payments for streaming services.

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Millions to Get Compensation for Music on Spotify and More

The MMA is a response to an evolving world and reshaping antiquated law about how music fans listen to their favorite artists and how those artists are to be compensated. Now audiophiles overwhelmingly listen to music through digital streaming services like Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited and Apple Music, as opposed to buying physical albums. Recording artists and songwriters previously weren’t receiving commensurate compensation for song streams. Moreover, songwriters and musicians in the music industry who worked on pre-1972 songs before the digital music boom will now be included in federal copyright protection.

For the 3 million and counting artists on Spotify, the music streaming network of 83 million paying subscribers, this is exceptional news. A standardized way of setting payment rates will be determined by the streaming services, and many artists will see their due.

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West’s White House visit was reportedly to go beyond a ceremonial bill signing — he was scheduled to meet with President Trump and Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. The three were set to broach topics including “manufacturing resurgence in America, prison reform, how to prevent gang violence, and what can be done to reduce violence in Chicago,” Sanders said in a statement.

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