Minimum Gauge: The Music Modernization Act is Closer to Becoming Law, Giving Creators More Fairness, Royalties

Plus, Christmas albums from The Monkees and William Shatner are due next month and Noah Cyrus has some expensive-ass tears

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click to enlarge Minimum Gauge: The Music Modernization Act is Closer to Becoming Law, Giving Creators More Fairness, Royalties
Photo: Andy Feliciotti
HOT: Music Modernization Act Headed Into Law

On Sept. 18, U.S. senators uncharacteristically all agreed on something and unanimously passed the “Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act,” which updates the royalties system for songwriters and offers a more fair pay-out in for creators in the streaming era. The OGHMMA (they just had to put Hatch’s name on it?) makes it easier for artists to get paid for streams, eliminates the ridiculous practice of not paying royalties for recordings made before 1972 and gives behind-the-scenes contributors (producers and engineers) royalties from streaming as well. Because there were changes to the bill in the Senate (including the titular shout-out to Hatch, apparently because he’s retiring and a songwriter), it now goes back to the House of Representatives, who are expected to pass it and move it along for the President to sign into law. While there doesn’t appear to be any danger of Trump not signing it, given his erratic and compulsive nature, there’s always the chance it will get held up until he wants his name added. Then again, the “Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act That Totally Wouldn’t Have Happened Without the Support of America’s Greatest President, Donald J. Trump” has a certain ring to it.

WARM: Christmas (Music) Is In the Air

With only 95 shopping days left until Christmas, two unexpected holiday albums have been announced. A few big-time Modern Rock artists are involved in Christmas Party, a new album from the surviving members of ’60s Pop Rock band The Monkees. Due Oct. 12, the album includes new songs written by the likes of Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, XTC’s Andy Partridge and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, a cover of Big Star’s “Jesus Christ” and repurposed old vocals from the band’s late singer Davy Jones. A much more kitschy holiday album will also drop in October, this one featuring the over-the-top-dramatic vocal stylings of William Shatner. After Ben Folds helped revive the Star Trek star's music career with the 2004 Rock album Has Been (which was actually really good), Captain Kirk has dragged out the gag (his “singing” is more spoken word and also not very good, you see?) with less successful attempts. Shatner is still always able to enlist a remarkable lineup of musicians to record with him (including Peter Frampton, Bootsy Collins, Brad Paisley, Steve Vai, Vince Gill and George Duke) and the forthcoming Shatner Claus is no different. The album features Iggy Pop (in a duet of “Silent Night”), Henry Rollins (for two versions of “Jingle Bells”), Judy Collins (“White Christmas”) and many others.

COLD: Cyrus Tears

This week’s “wild and wacky” music news nugget involves Miley Cyrus’ up-and-coming Pop star sister Noah and a nakedly pandering publicity stunt aimed at getting people on social media worked up in a tizzy and also aware that she has new music coming out. Noah teamed with a company called Pizzaslime for a line of clothing and accessories that includes hoodies, shirts and a bottle of Noah’s tears. If you said, “Say huh?,” upon hearing that tears bit, that’s what they were going for. So random! The small bottle of “approximately 12 tears made by Noah Cyrus as a result of sadness” was alleged to only be available for 48 hours and cost $12,000 (hurry, time’s almost up). It’s pretty funny — and a clever enough tie-in to promote Noah’s new EP, Good Cry — but after some fans contributed to a fake GoFundMe account purporting to be for buying a bottle, Cyrus came out and explained it was just a joke. She also said she'd help reimburse anyone who fell for the scam.


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