A new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives is being introduced in Congress this week that would give producers, engineers and mixers -- often times the unsung and forgotten heroes in the whole song-making process -- a piece of the digital royalty pie. The Allocation for Music Producer Act, or AMP Act (H.R. 1457), is being formally introduced by congressmen from both sides of the aisle: Reps. Joe Crowley (D-New York) and Tom Rooney (R-Florida).
— Rep. Joe Crowley (@repjoecrowley) March 19, 2015
In the past it has been up to the producers, engineers and mixers to negotiate their own splits on royalty payments. The AMP Act would create a statutory right for producers to receive royalties that would be managed through SoundExchange. This would give the producers, engineers and mixers the right to a piece of the digital royalties pie when this is becoming an increasingly important revenue stream with streaming.
This new framework will also give studio warriors the ability to negotiate with artists on works older than 1995, when the 45 percent digital royalty rate for artists was established. If the request was for more than four months, a collective will weigh in on the request and, if approved, give 2 percent of the 45 percent to the mixer, engineer or producer. The 2 percent would be split evenly if there are multiple requesters.
"Without producers and engineers, the music we enjoy every day couldn't make it from the recording studio to our radios and phones," said Rooney in a statement via Billboard. "Our bipartisan bill makes sure that hardworking studio professionals receive the royalties they earned in a fair and streamlined manner."
The Recording Academy described the bill as "the natural progression of work already being done by SoundExchange."
The government has not been able to agree on just about anything these days, and with the least productive Congress in history having just wrapped up, do not hold your breath for this bill to pass. It would be great to see the politicians do this, but pessimism and partisanship is the name of the game on the Hill right now. Let's hope they see past it to ensure fair pay in the digital age for mixers, producers and engineers.
If this is the first piece of advocacy from the Grammy Alliance, then it appears it is off to a good start.