(L) Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and (R) Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
Left Image by Paul Morigi/WireImage for The Recording Academy
Sens. Feinstein And Blackburn Introduce The HITS Act In The Senate
Today, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced the Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act in the Senate. A small tax incentive to help get independent artists back in the studio, the HITS Act allows these artists to deduct 100% of their production expenses in the United States, up to $150,000, in the year expenses are incurred. The legislation serves as a companion bill to the House of Representatives version (H.R.7886), which was introduced by Reps. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Ron Estes (R-Kan.) earlier this year.
Recording Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason jr. applauded Sens. Feinstein and Blackburn's legislation. "Today's introduction of the HITS Act in the Senate lays the groundwork for creators to produce new music and create jobs amidst a year filled with economic uncertainty. This change in the tax code – similar to the tax treatment of other creative industries -- will incentivize more music production. The Recording Academy thanks Senators Feinstein and Blackburn for their leadership on this issue and for introducing the Senate companion to the House bill, which already enjoys broad, bipartisan support."
In a joint press release, Sens. Feinstein and Blackburn stressed the importance of passing the HITS Act. "Because most large, public gatherings have been prohibited since the pandemic began, musicians and music producers have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus," Senator Feinstein said about the HITS Act. "Our bill would provide relief by allowing independent musicians, technicians and producers to deduct their production expenses in the same year they occur, rather than forcing them to spread those deductions out over several years. This is in line with how expenses are treated for film, television and theater productions, and it makes sense to create parity for music productions."
"Singers and songwriters lift our spirits and now need our help to get past the pandemic," Senator Blackburn said. "These artists are the lifeblood of Nashville's creative community. This bipartisan legislation will provide additional tax deductions to ease the burden facing our creative community by allowing our independent artists to fully deduct the cost of producing their music."
The Recording Academy recently sent a letter to Congressional leadership advocating for the inclusion of pro-creator policies in future COVID-centric stimulus packages, including a call to pass the HITS Act. The letter, which was also signed by 21 organizations in the music community, argued that, "Congress must ensure that tax relief reaches musicians and workers in the performing arts by passing the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act and the HITS Act." The letter concludes with a call for Congress to take action before the conclusion of the year, stating, "We hope that with your leadership, Congress, in the upcoming lame duck session, will take this clear opportunity to save American music, culture, and countless small businesses."
Mason also called on Congress to pass the bipartisan and now bicameral HITS Act in a recent opinion piece featured in The Hill. A creator himself, Mason advocated for the positive financial benefit of this modest tax bill, especially in a post-pandemic music ecosystem. "With music venues remaining closed, music creators have struggled to find sustainable ways to earn a livable income. Instead, many are using this time to create and produce new music, with the goal of returning to the studio in order to record," argued Mason.
Let's hope Congress takes swift action on the HITS Act in order to provide relief to struggling creators before the conclusion of this year!
Read Harvey Mason jr.'s full opinion piece in The Hill.