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Expand chart
Illustration: Caresse Haaser, Rebecca Zisser / Axios 

After months of negotiations this summer, a new bill that will transform the music industry is expected to become law this week.

Why it matters: The Music Modernization Act (MMA) updates decades-old copyright laws to reflect today's streaming-focused music market. And in a rare event, almost everyone across the industry supports it, because it helps musicians get paid.

"This was a long and complex process but ultimately the music industry has come out stronger and more united than ever."
— David Israelite, President and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association

How we got here: The bill received unanimous support from the House in April, and then from the Senate last week, after a summer-long battle of small tweaks. It now goes back to the House, where it's expected to again receive overwhelming support. If passed, sources tell Axios it will go to President Trump's desk for his signature this week.

Between the lines: It took the Senate several months to reach a point of compromise this summer, as not all groups were supportive of the law.

  • Most musicians are ecstatic. Lobbying groups for music publishers, recording artists and music rights holders are lauding the bill. Actual musicians and songwriters themselves took to social media to rally support for the bill.
  • But others are less happy. SiriusXM lobbied against the bill for months, arguing it put the satellite radio company in a worse position than some of its broadcast and streaming competitors. In turn, thousands of artists — including big names like Katy Perry and Paul McCartney — threatened boycotts of Sirius' parent company Liberty Media.

Streaming companies, like Pandora and Spotify, backed the bill because it modernized some of their payment processes, but also because they risked public outcry from the creative community if they didn't compromise.

"This Modernization Act, having one place where everybody gets paid and listed is huge step forward for the industry, but it's also huge step backward for people who’ve been exploiting musicians for years, like streaming services."
— Ross Gerber, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management and a musician

Eventually, all sides came to an agreement last week, but getting through some provisions, like what to do about paying rights-holders for older music that was recorded before modern copyright laws, took some nudging.

Between the lines: Streaming revenues have reached an all-time high as more people pay for services like Spotify and Apple Music to get on-demand access to millions of songs. But even though its easier for consumers to get access to their favorite tunes, it's been a nightmare for music right-holders.

  • The Recording Industry Association of America estimates that nearly 75% of all streaming revenue in the U.S. came from subscription services like Spotify and Apple Music in the first half of this year.

The big picture: Music has been able to adjust to more medium changes than most industries, and has been quick to adapt to the on-demand economy.

"In comparison to video, we've been much quicker to adapt. We (the music industry) were first and we are much more digital as a percentage than any other entertainment product."
— Mitch Glazer, Incoming President, Recording Industry Association of America

Be smart: The active lobbying by musicians and songwriters on social media definitely helped push this bill over the sidelines, giving credence to the way social media advocacy has been able to influence policy.

The bottom line: The law is modernizing the music economy to fit with the on-demand economy, which is mostly dominated by streaming services that give consumers access to millions of songs for a relatively low price of roughly $10 monthly.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.