Artist Blog

Maria Schneider: Important Information about the Music Modernization Act (MMA)

As many of you know, I’ve been trying to shed some light on the Music Modernization Act, legislation being drafted to ensure that music creators will be properly paid by companies like Spotify and Apple Music.  But the MMA, as drafted, would make independent creators and small publishers give up their Constitutional right to protect their work from infringement on digital services like Spotify.  Balancing the weight of that enormous “loss of rights” with the kind of transparency, balance, fairness, and simple consideration that independent creators and small publishers should expect is the challenge.  As of the dates of the following articles, this challenge clearly has not been met, setting up small creators to be krill for the whales (the biggest publishers, like Sony, Warner and Universal).


Here are some articles I recommend:

How the Music Modernization Act Takes Royalties from DIY Songwriters and Gives Them to the Major Publishers, by Henry Gradstein: March 2, 2018

The Music Modernization Act – The Devil is In the Details, by Maria Schneider  Feb. 8, 2018

The Music Modernization Act: We Can & Must Do Better, by Phil Galdston and David Wolfert: Feb, 21, 2018

An Open Letter to David Israelite and Anyone Interested in the MMA, by Maria Schneider: March 1, 2018

Many of Schneider’s other letters regarding YouTube and like can be read here.

About The Author:

Maria Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization.” She and her orchestra became widely known starting in 1994 when they released their first recording, Evanescence. There, Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for what would become her 18-member collective, made up of many of the finest musicians in jazz today, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the uniquely creative voices of the group. The Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed at festivals and concert halls worldwide. She herself has received numerous commissions and guest-conducting invites, working with over 85 groups from over 30 countries.

Schneider’s music blurs the lines between genres, making her long list of commissioners quite varied, stretching from Jazz at Lincoln Center, to The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, to collaborating with David Bowie. She is among a small few to have received GRAMMYS in multiple genres, have received the award in both jazz and classical categories, as well as for her work with David Bowie.

Schneider and her orchestra have a distinguished recording career with twelve GRAMMY nominations and five GRAMMY awards. Unique funding of projects has become a hallmark for Schneider through the trend-setting company, ArtistShare. Her album,  Concert in the Garden (2004) became historic as the first recording to win a GRAMMY with Internet-only sales, even more significantly, it blazed the “crowd-funding” trail as ArtistShare’s first release. She’s been awarded many honors by the Jazz Journalists Association and DOWNBEAT and JAZZTIMES Critics and Readers Polls. In 2012, her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, presented Schneider with an honorary doctorate, and in 2014, ASCAP awarded her their esteemed Concert Music Award.

Schneider has become a strong voice for music advocacy and in 2014, testified before the US Congressional Subcommittee on Intellectual Property about digital rights. She has also appeared in CNN, participated in round-tables for the United States Copyright Office, and has been quoted in numerous publications for her views on Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Google, digital rights, and music piracy. Most recently, she and concerned colleagues in New York have launched a widespread campaign on behalf of music-makers,

Her recent collaboration with her orchestra and David Bowie resulted in his single called, “Sue (Or In A Season of Crime),” and brought her a 2016 GRAMMY (Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals).  Schneider and her orchestra also received a 2016 GRAMMY for their latest work, The Thompson Fields (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album).