The AMP Act Turns Up Volume on Fair Pay for Studio Pros

Bill Addresses Needs of Producers and Engineers
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Bill Addresses Needs of Producers and Engineers

L-R)The Recording Academy's Daryl P. Friedman, Chief Advocacy & Industry Relations Officer; Maureen Droney, Managing Director, P&E Wing; and Neil Portnow, President/CEO join with Michael Huppe, President & CEO of SoundExchange, and GRAMMY winning songwriter/producer/guitarist Nile Rodgers to celebrate The AMP Act.

In the ongoing push to achieve fair pay for all music creators, the discussion tends to fall mainly on performers and songwriters. But no longer.

Producers and engineers have an indispensable role in the creation of recorded music and therefore a stake in the discussion of fair pay for music creators. Traditionally, how and how much these professionals are compensated in performance royalties for their work has been left for the concerned parties – the artist, and the producer or engineer – to work out amongst themselves. And SoundExchange, the nonprofit entity that collects and distributes digital performance royalties for artists, has chosen to honor agreements between artists and producers and issue direct payments to producers when appropriate.

Now, for the first time in U.S. history, there is finally a bill designed to address the needs of studio professionals. the Allocation for Music Producers Act, or AMP Act (H.R. 1457), will ensure that producers get efficient and direct payment of performance royalties they are due. The bill will create a statutory right for producers to receive royalties from SoundExchange when they have a letter of direction from a featured artist. And it will create a new process by which producers can request royalties from artists for older recordings when there is no letter of direction in place, if the artist does not object.

This week, the AMP Act is being formally introduced by Congressmen Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) in Washington, D.C., while I’ll be discussing the new bill at a GRAMMY Producers Panel at the South By Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas. With the support of Crowley, Rooney, and other congressional friends to music creators on Capitol Hill, we look forward to making The AMP Act a law that provides fair pay for the behind-the-scenes contributors to recorded music. Ultimately, we hope the Act will become part of the larger, music omnibus (or “musicbus”) bill that will address the important issues for all creators.

It was my pleasure to first announce the existence of the AMP Act before a roomful of producers and engineers at the Producers & Engineers Wing GRAMMY Week Celebration Honoring Nile Rodgers last month in Los Angeles, where the news was greeted with cheers. It was due to the considerable input of the P&E Wing’s Steering Committee that the bill was crafted.

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. SoundExchange is partnering with The Recording Academy to push for the passage of this groundbreaking new legislation.

It’s more than time to make sure that all the contributors to recorded music get their fair share.

To tell your congressional representative to support the AMP Act, click here.