Issues & Policy

The only membership organization representing all music creators (and no company members), the Recording Academy represents the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, and all music professionals. Through advocacy, education, and dialogue, the Recording Academy protects music creators’ rights and advances their interests on important music policy matters.

Learn more about the Recording Academy's efforts to amend California's AB5

From maintaining funding for the arts and music education to supporting independent music creators, learn more about the key music advocacy issues the Recording Academy works on with the music community and lawmakers, including issues specific to performers, songwriters, and studio professionals:








HITS Act: Easing the Financial Burden Placed on Independent Artists

The Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act was created to help independent artists get back into the studio to create new music. Individual recording artists and record producers are required to amortize production expenses for tax purposes over the economic life of a sound recording. These artists and producers should be allowed an election to deduct 100% of their production expenses for records created in the United States in the year such expenses are incurred, in the same manner that qualified film and television production expenses are allowed to be expensed. The HITS Act would allow an individual to fully expense the cost of new studio recordings on their taxes, up to $150,000.

Latest Status: Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Reps. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Ron Estes (R-Kan.) reintroduced the bipartisan and bicameral HITS Act (March 16, 2021).

American Music Fairness Act: Establishing a Performance Right for Radio

Congress should support bipartisan and common-sense music policy efforts to establish a public performance right for artists on terrestrial (AM/FM) radio. Traditional AM/FM radio is the only music platform that broadcasts music without paying royalties to the performers and producers who create it. Radio, which reaps billions in advertising revenues by exploiting music, is the only industry in America that uses the intellectual property of others without permission or compensation. In order to end the exploitation of creators on terrestrial radio, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) recently introduced the bipartisan American Music Fairness Act (AMFA). Learn more about the American Music Fairness Act and the effort to establish a public performance right for sound recordings.

Latest Status: Reps. Deutch and Issa introduced the American Music Fairness Act in the House of Representatives (June, 2021).

Tell Congress: Support the American Music Fairness Act. 

COVID-19 Relief: Protecting America's Music Makers Impacted by the Pandemic

President Biden and the new 117th Congress worked quickly to provide additional financial relief to combat the enduring impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by passing the American Rescue Plan (ARP) in March 2021. The comprehensive package addresses the many complex challenges facing creators by extending unemployment assistance, providing direct relief payments, appropriating funds to help small businesses survive, and investing in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Academy supported the $1.9 trillion relief package, and helped to shape many of the provisions that were included in the final legislation.

Passed by Congress on December 21, 2020, a new $900 billion relief package expanded critical pandemic unemployment assistance programs for self-employed workers, established $15 billion supplemental fund to assist live entertainment venues, replenished critical Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs, and issued direct payments to workers. The package came after the Recording Academy and its members worked with Congress and music community allies to provide additional relief for the struggling music ecosystem.

In March 2020, the Recording Academy helped usher in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act contained a number of key protections and provisions for music creators and music small businesses, including a new pandemic unemployment assistance program for eligible self-employed workers, a new Small Business Administration loan program for self-employed workers, and a $75 million supplemental fund for the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Latest Status: As of Sept. 6, all federal pandemic unemployment assistance programs expired (Sept., 2021). President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law (March, 2021).

Music Modernization Act

For decades, the Recording Academy has championed modernizing outdated music policy and creating a comprehensive music licensing reform to benefit all music creators—a call an array of industry stakeholders and music creators followed.

Congress listened too, and held a hearing during GRAMMY Week in January of 2018. On April 25, 2018, one week after GRAMMYs on the Hill, Rep. Bob Goodlatte brought a comprehensive bill on the House floor called the Music Modernization Act, which included provisions to improve compensation for songwriters, help pre-1972 legacy artists get paid by music streaming services, and recognize producers and engineers in music copyright protection. The bill was unanimously passed by the House. Months later on September 19, 2018, the Act was also passed unanimously by the Senate.

The historic bill known as the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (aka Music Modernization Act) was signed into law on October 11, 2018. Recording Academy members played a critical role through their tireless music advocacy efforts and during the legislative process.

Learn more about the Music Modernization Act, its implementation, and history.

Modernizing the Outdated ASCAP/BMI Consent Decrees

The Recording Academy has long supported music policy reform efforts to modernize the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees that have regulated songwriter compensation since the 1940s. The Recording Academy believes that the consent decrees have failed to keep pace with the evolution in the music ecosystem, and now benefit the world’s largest and most profitable companies at the expense of fair market pay for individual songwriters.

Latest Status: The Department of Justice (DOJ) ended its review of the ASCAP/BMI consent decrees, opting to leave the current arrangement in place without pro-creator reform (January, 2021). The DOJ announced its intentions to take a modern look at the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees governing songwriter compensation. The Recording Academy submitted comments to help ensure these creators are properly paid when their work is played in public. (August, 2019)


CASE Act: Support Independent Music Creators

Copyright protection is a constitutional right for all creators, including independent artists and songwriters who don’t have the unlimited resources to protect their work against infringement. The CASE Act (H.R. 2426/S. 1273) established a small claims court for copyright cases as an optional alternative to cost-prohibitive and time-extensive federal litigation. The Recording Academy supported the CASE Act within its music advocacy efforts. Learn more about the CASE Act and how it supports independent music creators.

Latest Status: As part of the spending package, the CASE Act was signed into law by President Trump (December, 2020).


Maintain Funding for the Arts and Arts Education

Congress should fund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and support music education in any end-of-year spending bill, and work with the creative community to increase funding for Fiscal Year 2022.

Congress needs to continue its strong bipartisan support for funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and music education programs.

91 percent of Americans support funding for music education programs, and the NEA has proven to be popular and cost effective—raising $9 in outside matching funds for every $1 spent. Congress should also fully fund the following programs that support music and arts education:

  • Assistance for Arts Education21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants

Latest Status: The House and Senate both advanced appropriations bills that would fund the NEA at a record level of $201 million, and it is pending passage as part of the FY22 spending bill (July, 2021). 


Protect Creators in Trade Agreements

As the United States negotiates and ratifies new trade agreements, Congress should use its authority to ensure that robust intellectual property provisions benefit music creators in all decisions that impact music creators’ rights.

At a minimum, copyright protection should not be weakened through trade deals.

Congress must work with the copyright community on drafting a creator-friendly trade agreement with the United Kingdom, and any future multilateral or bilateral agreements.

Latest Status: President Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement into law. (January, 2020)