Progress in copyright law and the music industry has been a slow, uphill climb for decades. But those who desire change are getting closer to the summit, with new laws and regulations recently passed worldwide. As the music industry grows increasingly more digital and stream-based, the way royalties are rewarded—and sometimes traded as commodities—continues to evolve daily.
Music Royalties in 2021
The current state of the music industry after the Music Modernization Act went into effect on January 1.
In 2018, the Music Modernization Act was signed into law, paving the way for sweeping change in the music industry. The legislation’s main goal was to streamline the process for license holders to get paid when their music is streamed online. As streaming services have become the primary way consumers listen to music, new copyright law was necessary to serve the industry moving forward.
One of the Act’s primary ambitions was to lessen the gap between royalty payouts for the music industry’s biggest stars and the artists still trying to make a living. Although streaming services such as Spotify have shown increasing user growth and countless streams, the mechanical royalty for a stream is much less than it is for a download or a sale.