WASHINGTON, D.C.—The way listeners consume music has greatly changed in the past 10-15 years, but songwriter compensation hasn’t kept up with that innovation. A new bipartisan bill has been introduced in Congress aimed at addressing music licensing issues in the online streaming era.

Womble Bond Dickinson Telecom lawyer Gregg Skall wrote about the Music Modernization Act at Radio Ink. The goal of the bill is to “create a new, simplified licensing entity, making it easier for digital music companies to obtain a license for and play songs and also ensure that songwriters are paid royalties they are owed,” Skall writes.

The goal of the legislation, Skall writes, is to address 1. That internet streaming is how most customers listen to music; and 2. That songwriters will be paid fair market value, which can be an issue in an age when customers no longer purchase physical media.

However, Skall also said broadcast radio stations could face new fees and higher costs if the Music Modernization Act becomes law.

He writes, “It will be interesting to see how this legislation fares. It may be that some solution is necessary to address the way music is streamed to listeners over the Internet, but NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) will certainly be stressing that broadcasters should not be required to bear that burden. A newer more creative approach, if any, will be required.”

Click here to read “The Music Modernization Act: New Skin for an Old Idea” at Radio Ink.

Gregg Skall represents broadcasters and other parties in their regulatory dealings before the Federal Communications Commission and in their commercial business dealings. He serves as Washington Counsel to several state broadcaster associations. He also works with telecommunications companies and with radio device manufacturers to obtain FCC approvals.