Monday, April 4, 2016

Bill to Provide Producers, Mixers and Engineers Digital Royalties Introduced in the House

Written by Andrew Flanagan — Another piece of legislation looking to distribute the money made from recordings has hit the Hill. Less than a month after the Songwriter Equity Act was re-introduced and nearly a month after the Local Radio Fairness Act's introduction, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) have put forth the Allocation for Music Producers Act (AMP, H.R. 1457), meant to create a statutory framework for producers, mixers and engineers to gain partial royalty rights to the songs they work on.

The bill piggybacks on the previously established "Letter of Direction" process, which would allow artists to designate a portion of the 45% royalty rate they receive for digital broadcasts of their work to the producer of the work. The payouts would be managed by SoundExchange.

The bill also provides recourse for recordings older than 1995, when the 45 percent digital royalty rate for artists was established. If a producer, mixer or sound engineer's request for royalties is ignored for four months, a collective (appointed by the Copyright Royalty Judges) will weigh the merit of the request and, if approved, assign 2 percent of the 45% total to the requester. If there is more than one person requesting the royalty, that 2 percent would be split evenly between them.

"Without producers and engineers, the music we enjoy every day couldn't make it from the recording studio to our radios and phones," said Rep. Rooney in a statement. "Our bipartisan bill makes sure that hardworking studio professionals receive the royalties they earned in a fair and streamlined manner."

The Recording Academy posted to its blog in support of the new bill, writing that "the AMP Act is also the natural progression of work already being done by SoundExchange, the independent digital performance rights agency, which has already been paying out producer shares voluntarily."

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