Learn more about some of the critical issues affecting producers, engineers, and studio professionals.
The Allocation for Music Producers Act (AMP Act)
A long-standing advocacy goal of the Recording Academy’s Producers and Engineers Wing, the AMP Act was signed into law after years of advocacy work by Academy members. The law gives studio professionals recognition in federal copyright law for the first time in U.S. history.
The AMP Act was included in its entirety in the comprehensive Music Modernization Act, which became law on October 11, 2018. Under the new law:
- Studio professionals have a legal and permanent right to directly collect non-interactive, digital royalties agreed through a letter of direction with the featured artist.
- For sound recordings released prior to 1995, SoundExchange will establish a procedure for studio professionals to collect a royalty payment without a letter of direction.
History of the AMP Act
Since 1995, featured performers and artists have had a statutory right to 45 percent of the performance royalties collected from non-interactive, digital music services. Yet despite their indispensable role in the creation of sound recordings, music producers were not mentioned in any part of the copyright law prior to 2018.
Since they were not included in the 1995 law for a statutory right, producers, mixers and engineers (subject to their contract) had to collect royalties from the performers’ 45 percent. This created an inefficient and non-permanent royalty payment system, with producers and engineers relying on a voluntary policy administered by SoundExchange.
To fix this inefficiency, the Recording Academy, through its Producers and Engineers Wing, along with SoundExchange, set out to construct a solution. After years of negotiations with all affected stakeholders, the result was the AMP Act, formally introduced in the House of Representatives on March 19, 2015 by Congressmen Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.).
Due in large part to the local grassroots advocacy efforts of the Recording Academy’s District Advocate program, the AMP Act gained momentum during the 114th Congress. It was re-introduced in the House of Representatives at the start of the 115th Congress on February 6, 2017 and eventually added nearly 70 bipartisan co-sponsors.
Following a district meeting between Recording Academy members and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a companion bill was introduced in the Senate on March 22, 2018 by Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
The AMP Act was universally well-received, and endorsed by the greater music industry, along with the U.S. Copyright Office and other stakeholders. The bill was ultimately included in its entirety in the comprehensive Music Modernization Act in both the House and the Senate. The bill passed both chambers without objection, and was signed into law by President Trump on October 11, 2018.