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  • Dillon Slagle

The Music Modernization Act and More

If you happen to be a music producer, musician, recording engineer or if you are affiliated with the music industry, then you have mostly likely heard of the newly passed, Music Modernization Act. For those unfamiliar with the act, it is probably the MOST discussed topic in the music industry as of recent. It includes reformations to the previous Music Modernization Act as well as the CLASSIC Act and the AMP Act. The bill covers many copyright and licensing aspects of the industry. As a part of the CLASSICS Act, artists who produced music before 1972 will now be provided with proper copyright protection and compensation for their work. Furthermore, the AMP Act will finally provide music producers and engineers fair compensation for their creations via SoundExchange. Not only will this bill significantly change the way that music is played, but it will also greatly impact the way music is produced. Artists will soon be able to glean a better living from all of the late nights spent labouring over their work.

Although the Music Modernization Act will leave a major impact in the music industry, some businesses, such as eMusic, are taking matters into their own hands. eMusic, an independent and online music store, will be using blockchain distribution system as a way to benefit both the artist and the customer. CEO Tamir Koch states that a major issue for artists is not knowing where the money they generate is going. However, Blockchain presents a solution to this problem, informing artists of the whereabouts of their money along every step of the process. The platform would include serval benefits for artists as well. For example, the “rent-to-own” feature will automatically give listeners ownership of an item once they exceed the cost of ownership in rental payments. However, this is just one of the many exciting perks that listeners will experience through the platform. As with any new method, time will tell if blockchaining will become a staple of the future or a flop of the present.

It is no mystery that the accessibility of music has increased tenfold in the past decade. Now, listeners can experience both new and old artists instantaneously without moving from their chair. There are many platforms to thank for this shift in listener experience, but this article from The Guardian focuses specifically on the effects of Spotify. Spotify is well known for creating unique playlists to meet the needs of each individual based on their listening habits. However, this article warns that this feature may be leading listeners down a dark and musically dull path. The playlist-generating algorithm used by Spotify is great for listeners who wish to listen to the same type of music endlessly, but it fails to present listeners with fresh artists they might not consider otherwise. Also, the algorithm is biased towards formulaic, catchy tunes in order to evade the use of the pesky “skip” button. As a result, underground or not-yet-famous rising stars are struggling to gain traction with listeners through these specialized playlist. It seems that Spotify’s defining characteristic could become the source of the industry’s greatest vice.

Oak Felder is a Grammy winning record producer who has created some of today’s most popular hits... solely using a laptop. Similar to the common bedroom producer, Felder’s setup is relatively simple and is a stark contrast to the grandiose image of switchboards and consoles popularly associated with producers. In this article, Felder explains how developments in music-making technology has allowed virtually anyone with a laptop to create hit records of their own. Instead of having to schedule in and pay for studio time, artists can produce at a fraction of the price, at any time, and in any location. Thus, fame and success as a producer is more likely to be determined by talent rather than studio access.

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