Statement from American Beverage Licensees on Passage of the Music Modernization Act by the House Judiciary Committee

APRIL 12, 2018 – BETHESDA, MD – The passage of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) (H.R. 5447) by the House Judiciary Committee on April 11 sets a meaningful bipartisan precedent and is a step in the right direction when it comes to addressing flaws in the music licensing system.

However, hundreds of thousands of bar, tavern and restaurant owners are correct to point out that the MMA does not address their fundamental need for transparent and reliable information in the music licensing process.

These small business owners – many of whom are the conduits through which consumers learn about and enjoy the work of songwriters – continue to operate under threat of bankruptcy-triggering lawsuits for so much as one misplay of an unlicensed song.

The Committee’s support for the creation of a comprehensive mechanical licensing database in the Music Modernization Act should translate into support for a corresponding comprehensive performance rights licensing database as envisioned in H.R. 3350, the Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act, a bipartisan bill introduced last year by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner.

Beverage licensees stand ready to work with the Committee to build on current momentum to bring greater transparency and fairness to the music licensing process, and remedy opaque and untenable licensing situations for music venues.


American Beverage Licensees is the preeminent national trade association for beverage alcohol retailers. Direct retail beverage alcohol sales in the United States generate as many as 1.94 million well-paying jobs. ABL’s thousands of on-premise and off-premise licensee members are independent and often family-owned establishments. The beverage retailing industry pays over $25.3 billion in federal taxes and $18.36 billion in state and local taxes. To learn more about ABL, visit