Sunshine On A Grain-y Day: 5 Things Creators Can Be Thankful For During This Difficult Thanksgiving
During this holiday season, music creators are not looking for a gift, they are in need of an economic lifeline. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the music community swiftly and has continued to limit creators’ access to traditional sources of revenue.
While this is a holiday season unlike every before, there is much to be grateful for but also much work left to do. With support from our members, the Recording Academy continues to lobby Congress for the inclusion of essential financial relief and key creative protections in any end of year COVID relief package. Here are five things music makers can be thankful for during this difficult year:
1. COVID-19 Relief: Tur-Key To Helping Music Creators Survive
When the pandemic started, Congress acted quickly to provide necessary aid to the entire music ecosystem. The $2 trillion CARES Act relief package contained a number of key provisions to help music makers survive the initial impact of the pandemic, including a new pandemic unemployment assistance program for eligible self-employed workers, new small business loan programs, and a $75 million supplemental fund for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), among others.
But these programs were only temporary—many have expired, or will expire by the end of the end of the year-- leaving millions of creators with growing financial strain and without essential lifelines. From saving our stages to fixing our unemployment system for gig workers, Congress must pass another relief package to aid creators and to help ensure that music plays on after the lockdowns are lifted.
2. Mechanical Licensing Collective: Helping You Collect A Helping Of Royalties
Part of the Music Modernization Act (MMA), the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) was established as the new entity tasked with administering blanket mechanical licenses, collecting mechanical royalties from digital streaming services, and distributing those collected royalties to the right songwriters, publishers, composers, and lyricists.
The MLC will officially start collecting royalties on January 1, 2021, and distributing those royalties to songwriters and publishers in the months following. For more information on how the MLC works for creators, watch the Academy’s webinar with Kris Ahrend, CEO of the MLC.
3. HITS Act: Incentivizing Music Makers To Corn-tinue Creating Records
The Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act will jumpstart the creation of great new music by incentivizing creators to safely re-enter the studio. Designed with independent music makers in mind, the bipartisan HITS Act would allow artists and producers to deduct 100% of their production expenses in the year such expenses are incurred, a departure from the current policy requiring production expenses to be amortized over the economic life of a sound recording.
The HITS Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Ron Estes (R-Kan.) on July 30, 2020. Let’s hope the HITS Act will be passed into law in order to help support independent records during the pandemic.
4. DMCA Reform: Combatting Online Pie-racy
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was created to increase innovation and combat bad actors online. Since the bill’s passage in 1998, the internet has significantly evolved and the DMCA needs to be updated to reflect the current internet landscape. This year, Recording Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason jr. and Yolanda Adams, a four-time GRAMMY winning singer/songwriter and co-chair of the Academy’s National Advocacy Committee, testified in support of DMCA reform before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. Subcommittee Chairman Tillis (N.C.) has spent the past year listening to stakeholder groups and plans to issue draft legislative changes next month.
5. Recording Academy Members: Nothing Is Feast-ible Without You!
Throughout this difficult year, the Academy has continued to call on you, our members, to voice support for creator-friendly legislation, resulting in thousands of letters sent to Congress and hundreds of meetings with Congressional offices. Congress has been receptive to the needs of a struggling music ecosystem and our community will continue to push policymakers to stand firmly with music makers until we recover from the impact of the pandemic.
As you gather around the Thanksgiving table with your household, or share a virtual meal with family and friends from a far, send thanks to Congress for the aid they’ve given and urge them to give more assistance and protections to the music community in need.