In an apparent attempt to downplay Taylor Swift’s potential influence in the presidential election later this year, former President Donald Trump released a statement on his “Social Truth” platform on Sunday claiming credit for the Modernization Act. Music 2018 and stating, without evidence, that Swift would not approve. President Joe Biden’s bid for re-election.
In the post, Trump claimed: “I signed and was responsible for the Music Modernization Act for Taylor Swift and all other music artists. Joe Biden did nothing for Taylor and never will. There is no way she would endorse crooked Joe Biden, the worst and most corrupt president in our country’s history, and be unfaithful to the man who made her so much money. Besides, I like her boyfriend, Travis, even though he might be a liberal and probably can’t stand me!”
A representative for Swift did not immediately respond DiversityRequest for comment. However, Dina LaPolt, a leading advocate behind MMA, disputed Trump’s claims in a statement to the Variety Sunday.
“This [claim] it’s funny to me”, she wrote. “Trump did nothing about our legislation except sign it, and he doesn’t even know what the Music Modernization Act does. One has to ask what the law has actually achieved.”
While the full wording of the act, which was created to update the rights of songwriters and creators in the digital age, is available from the US Copyright Office, a condensed summary can be found in a 2020 post on the Library of Congress website.
“Fundamentally, MMA changes the way songwriters and music publishers are paid by legitimate mechanical royalties [permission to reproduce and distribute recordings] when their work is streamed on interactive streaming services such as Apple Music or Spotify, or sold on download services such as Amazon Music,” the summary states. “Beginning in 2021, a nonprofit entity designated by the Copyright Office , called the Mechanical Licensing Collective, or MLC, will collect and distribute these royalty payments to copyright owners of musical works that match sound recordings in its database. And finally, but not before than 2023, any unclaimed royalties may begin to be paid to copyright owners and songwriters of matched works based on the market share of each work. But to be paid, you’ll need to register your songs on MLC.”
Here you can find a bulleted summary of the updates and improvements of the established act.
(In fact, the usually apolitical Swift has spoken out against Trump in the past, writing in Elle in 2019, “Calling out racism and provoking fear through thinly veiled messages is not what I want from our leaders, and I realized that it really is my. responsibility to use my influence against that despicable rhetoric.”)
Trump did indeed sign the act in 2018 — which had been unanimously passed by Congress after years of work by its proponents — politicizing the signing by doing so in a photo opportunity involving boosters such as Kid Rock, Mike Love of Beach Boys, John Rich, Jeff Baxter of the Doobie brothers and others; Kanye West was expected to attend but did not.
Regardless, the act’s passage was met with great enthusiasm from all corners of the music industry, as it updated a woefully outdated copyright law that had been passed in 1998, long before streaming became widespread.
“The Music Modernization Act is now the law of the land and thousands of songwriters and artists are better for it. The result is a music market better founded on fair competition and fair wages,” said Mitch Glazier, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, among many other prominent commentators after the act’s passage. “Enacting this law shows what music creators and digital services can do when we work together in collaboration to advance a mutually beneficial agenda. It’s a great day for music.”
Republican Congressman Darryl Issa, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, wrote in Variety in 2023, enthusiastically praising the act on its fifth anniversary, writing in part: “Congress achieved that rarest of things: A consensus settlement that recognized the rights of music artists and created a way for them to be fairly compensated right from the publishers.”