Crowley, Rooney Fair Pay for Music Producers Language Included in Final Music Modernization Act

September 26, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C.) – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) cheered the final passage of the Music Modernization Act, a package of bipartisan bills that makes important updates to the way artists and others in the recording industry are compensated. Included in the legislation is the language of Crowley and Rooney’s Allocation for Music Producers Act (AMP Act), which reforms the way music producers receive royalties and helps ensure those working in the industry are treated equitably.

“From the songwriter to the sound engineer, producing a song truly takes a village. It’s only right that every music professional involved be paid fairly for their role in a song’s creation,” said Crowley. “I’m proud to have worked with Congressman Rooney on this effort and I’m thrilled the overall package will soon become law.”

“We have a long history in this country of protecting the property rights of individuals,” Rooney said. “The people that originate and cultivate ideas in America have been rewarded for them like no other place in the world. I have always believed that the words and scores behind great music belong to the innovative minds that collaborate and create them in the first place. I’m glad to have worked with my friend Congressman Crowley on this bill to help protect the people who work hard to contribute and produce the arts we all enjoy and am glad that it was included in this legislative package.”

Congress passed the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act(DPRA) in 1995, which allowed featured performers to collect a 45 percent royalty whenever a song they performed was broadcast in a digital format. However, while performers receive a direct payment of the royalty, producers, engineers, and other studio professionals were not granted a statutory share of the individual song’s royalty. Producers can only collect their portion of the royalties through a contract established between the producer and featured artist called a “letter of direction.”

The AMP Act would give producers the statutory right to receive compensation for the recordings they produce through the letter of direction process. In addition, the bill would establish a procedure for producers and engineers to seek permission from featured artists or their heirs to receive appropriate royalty payments for sound recordings made prior to 1995.

The AMP Act is supported by The Recording Academy, which represents more than 24,000 producers, engineers, artists, songwriters and other individual music creators, and by SoundExchange, the independent nonprofit performance rights organization responsible for collecting and distributing digital performance royalties to music creators and copyright holders.