Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act Reintroduced in the House and Senate

Uixi Amargós recording during the pandemic

Photo: Xavi Torrent/Getty Images

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Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act Reintroduced in the House and Senate

The bipartisan and bicameral HITS Act has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives and Senate, delivering much-needed relief to music creators if passed

Advocacy/Mar 17, 2021 - 03:14 am

Today, the bipartisan and bicameral Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act was reintroduced in Washington. The Senate version of the bill is again introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and the companion bill in the House of Representatives is sponsored by Reps. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif) and Ron Estes (R-Kan.). The House bill is also supported by Reps. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), and Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.).

The HITS Act, which was first introduced last Congress, is designed to allow artists and record producers to deduct 100 percent of sound recording production expenses in the year they are incurred, rather than amortized over the life of the recording, typically 3-4 years. The bill eases the financial burden placed on independent artists by removing the multi-year amortization requirement and allowing an individual to fully expense the cost of new studio recordings on their taxes, up to $150,000.

The HITS Act also aligns the tax code for music production with similar provisions for other creative industries. Currently, qualified film, live theatrical, and television production companies enjoy the ability to deduct 100 percent of their production expenses in the year such expenses are incurred.

The HITS Act would also incentivize the production of new sound recordings at a time when music creators still need help overcoming the financial fallout resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. With tours canceled and gigs indefinitely delayed, many creatives are left without access to their traditional revenue streams. Congress continues to address the unequal impact felt by the creative workforce through enhanced unemployment insurance, extending Small Business Administration loan programs, and creating targeted relief programs for independent venues. 

While these relief programs are a welcomed resource for the music ecosystem, Congress must continue to provide targeted assistance for the most vulnerable creators – independent artists. That is why the Recording Academy collaborated with policymakers on finding a solution that encourages and incentivizes the creative workforce to safely return to the studio.

The Academy applauds the reintroduction of the HITS Act. “A year after the pandemic brought social distancing and shutdowns, independent music creators have been hit hard, which is why the Recording Academy is pleased to support the reintroduction of the HITS Act,” said Harvey Mason jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “This bipartisan bill will change the tax code – putting music creators on a level playing field with other creative industries – helping thousands of independent creators get back on track by incentivizing music production, creating new opportunities and revitalizing the music economy.  We thank Senators Feinstein and Blackburn and Representatives Sanchez, Estes, Chu, McCaul, DelBene, and Napolitano.”

“Like families and workers across the country, music producers and creators in each of our communities have been hit hard by this pandemic. In fact, they were among the first out of work as tours and festivals were canceled, venues shuttered, and studio sessions were postponed,” said Congresswoman Sánchez. “Today, I'm proud to re-introduce the HITS Act. This bill will make things just a little easier for the small, independent creators that make the music we often turn to during hard times like this."

“The pandemic has made it harder for many people to make ends meet, including musicians and music producers who have been among the hardest hit because of bans on large gatherings,” said Senator Feinstein. “Our bill would allow 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 change would help keep music creators afloat until we can again gather and listen to them in person.”

“The music from Nashville strikes a chord with folks across the nation,” said Senator Blackburn. “However, the unique burdens faced by the arts community forced many to stop writing, performing, and producing altogether. The HITS act will provide targeted tax deductions to support our musicians and allow them to get back to work.”

“As for so many Americans, shutdowns and social distancing brought havoc for small recording artists over the past year,” said Congressman Estes. “The bipartisan HITS Act will help thousands of independent music creators around the country by providing common sense tax savings on certain expenses – giving this industry the targeted relief it needs as our nation recovers.”

Championed by the Recording Academy, the legislation is supported by many members of the music ecosystem, including the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), SAG-AFTRA, Music Artists Coalition, Artists Rights Alliance, Recording Industry Association of America, National Music Publishers Association, SoundExchange, Global Music Rights, SESAC, National Independent Venue Association, National Independent Talent Organization, Future of Music Coalition, Digital Media Association, Nashville Songwriters Association International, ASCAP, BMI, Gospel Music Association, Christian Music Trade Association and Songwriters of North America.

As the only organization representing all music creators, the Academy thanks these members of Congress for standing with struggling creators by reintroducing the HITS Act, and looks forward to the passage of this landmark relief bill. 

Take Action: Ask Congress to Pass the HITS Act

Watch Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. Appear On "Drop The Mic: The Business Of Music" Panel

Harvey Mason jr.

Photo courtesy of the Milken Institute

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Watch Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. Appear On "Drop The Mic: The Business Of Music" Panel

Comprising more than 180 public and private sessions, Milken Institute Global Conference 2022 featured a captivating panel called "Drop The Mic: The Business Of Music" — featuring Mason alongside other music business leaders.

Recording Academy/May 17, 2022 - 06:33 pm

The Recording Academy's very own CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., just got deep on the mechanics of the music biz. On May 4, Mason participated in the Milken Institute Global Conference 2022, appearing on the panel "Drop the Mic: The Business of Music."

Moderated by Shirley Halperin and featuring additional speakers Marc Cimino (Chief Operating Officer, Universal Music Publishing Group), Sherrese Clarke Soares (Founder and CEO, HarbourView Equity Partners) and Scott Pascucci (Chief Executive Officer, Concord), "Drop The Mic" explored how the music business has expanded beyond playing records and attending live concerts.

In 2022 and beyond, the industry encompasses downloads, catalog buys, creative NFTs that serve as souvenirs, virtual experiences, and a whole lot more. In the below video, captivating speakers detail how we can follow these developments into a brave new world for music and music people.

Comprising more than 180 public and private sessions, Milken Institute Global Conference 2022 featured nearly 2,000 attendees participating in-person — along with thousands more viewing the livestream from around the world.

Enjoy the video, which clocks in at more than an hour, and keep checking RecordingAcademy.com for updates on how the music business continues to evolve, flourish and thrive as a nurturer of the world.

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The Recording Academy And IBM Debut New Fan Experience Powered By Watson And IBM Cloud Ahead Of The 2021 GRAMMY Awards Show

 

 

Photo Courtesy of IBM

 

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The Recording Academy And IBM Debut New Fan Experience Powered By Watson And IBM Cloud Ahead Of The 2021 GRAMMY Awards Show

Fan experiences include the launch of GRAMMY Debates with Watson, the first-ever AI-driven debates about the music industry, and the transition of GRAMMY.com workloads onto the IBM Cloud

Recording Academy/Mar 2, 2021 - 07:00 pm

The Recording Academy and IBM, the Academy's Official Cloud and AI partner, announced today the launch of GRAMMY Debates with Watson, a new digital fan experience powered by IBM Watson's Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities and cloud technologies. In addition to this new fan experience, the Recording Academy announced it is transitioning its consumer-facing online platform, GRAMMY Backstage, to a digital environment running on IBM Cloud that will seamlessly host the preshow, GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, and additional show content. GRAMMY Debates with Watson and GRAMMY Backstage are now live on GRAMMY.com, and the experience will run through the 63rd GRAMMY Awards, taking place Sunday, March 14.

To view the GRAMMY Debates with Watson, visit GRAMMY.com/Watson from March 2-14.

IBM and the Recording Academy conducted several design-thinking workshops to design technology-driven fan experiences to engage and attract viewers and music fans. They developed an interactive experience that uses the IBM Cloud and IBM Watson to enhance the show's engagement experience. This is the fourth year that IBM has partnered with the Recording Academy to bring the power of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to the annual GRAMMY Awards.

GRAMMY Debates with Watson is a multi-week, AI-curated music debate experience available to fans around the world. The experience allows music fans to contribute their points of view to some of the most important music-related conversations today. Hosted on GRAMMY.com, fans can engage in debates related to the most groundbreaking artist or biggest style icon and add their pro or con arguments via the online portal. As an example, one debate topic is "Music education should be mandatory in all K-12 schools." IBM Watson will process the input and data from the debates and lead to "conclusions" that offer analysis on real-time submissions. 

The GRAMMY Debates with Watson solution taps into the strong pipeline of innovations coming to IBM Watson from IBM Research to advance AI for business. IBM's AI for business strategy is designed to help organizations predict, optimize and automate processes through advancements in NLP, automation and trust. NLP is key to interpreting the trends and insights hidden within enterprise data. GRAMMY Debates with Watson uses an innovation from the IBM Research Project Debater team – Key Point Analysis – that IBM plans to commercialize in IBM Watson NLP products such as Watson Discovery and Watson Natural Language Understanding. Key Point Analysis reviews fan input on the topics posed on GRAMMY.com to identify the most prevalent points and main topics of the submissions. Natural language generation technology is then used to create cohesive pro and con narratives on each of the topics. The solution will also analyze public posts from social networks, such as Twitter, to inform the debates. Using IBM Watson to analyze and synthesize natural language helps to scale the Recording Academy's editorial team's capabilities to produce more engaging experiences.

"The launch of GRAMMY Debates with Watson gives GRAMMY viewers an entirely new way to engage with fellow music lovers and be a part of the conversation. It's great to continue innovating our digital and fan experiences with IBM and to explore how AI and Cloud technology can be applied to make our awards show more interactive for viewers," Lisa Farris, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer at the Recording Academy, said. "We're excited to bring IBM's expertise to the GRAMMY Awards, and the work we do to support music creators and celebrate Music's Biggest Night."

"Our work with the Recording Academy is another example of how we're applying IBM's cutting-edge technology to revolutionize the entertainment industry and bring clients innovative and compelling experiences for their key audiences," Noah Syken, Vice President of Sports & Entertainment Partnerships, IBM, said. "These are the same core technologies—hybrid cloud and AI—that we're using to drive digital transformation for clients around the world."

In addition to GRAMMY Debates with Watson, IBM announced the 63rd GRAMMY Awards day-of-show takeover on GRAMMY.com will be hosted for the first time entirely on the IBM Cloud. This is a part of the Recording Academy's journey to hybrid cloud, building modern, containerized applications on Red Hat OpenShift. IBM will power GRAMMY Backstage, as the digital experience is known, using a hybrid cloud approach enabled by Red Hat OpenShift, the industry's leading enterprise Kubernetes platform, with workloads running on multiple public and private clouds operating seamlessly. 

IBM will be migrating the digital environment that hosts the preshow, GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony,, and additional show content (articles, photo galleries, video highlights, etc.) to the IBM Cloud. GRAMMY Backstage will be seamlessly embedded into the GRAMMY.com homepage, and with the IBM Cloud will be able to securely scale the delivery of GRAMMY Backstage to the more than seven million fans worldwide who are anticipated to tune in.

Red Hat OpenShift and the IBM Cloud are the foundations of digital transformation at clients across industries.  The natural language processing capabilities found in GRAMMY Debates with Watson can also be found in Watson Assistant, the AI-based customer experience offering used by companies in industries including financial services, healthcare, retail, telecommunications and more. The work IBM is doing with the Recording Academy and other sports entities to engage fans during the pandemic parallels the innovative experiences and technology applications they bring to clients worldwide.

GRAMMY Debates with Watson builds on the 2019 launch of GRAMMY Insights with Watson, an innovative fan experience that applied AI technology to the Award's preshow. The online and broadcast experience provided key insights in real time about the artists on-screen during the GRAMMYs pre-show red carpet. The solution, which also leveraged NLP to mine and source insights, reached hundreds of thousands of live red carpet viewers on GRAMMY.com and created more than 1.6 million total instances of insights.

The 2021 GRAMMY Awards show will air on Sunday, March 14, at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on CBS.

GRAMMY Awards Radio Launches On Pandora Ahead Of The 2021 GRAMMYs Show

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GRAMMYs On The Hill Honorees Named

Legendary artist and producer Quincy Jones — 27-time GRAMMY winner and The Recording Academy's ambassador for its 50th Celebration — will headline a day of music advocacy as part of The Academy's GRAMMYs on The Hill activities in the nation's

Recording Academy/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Quincy Jones, Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. Marsha Blackburn to be saluted

GRAMMY.com

Legendary artist and producer Quincy Jones — 27-time GRAMMY winner and The Recording Academy's ambassador for its 50th Celebration — will headline a day of music advocacy as part of The Academy's GRAMMYs on The Hill activities in the nation's capital on Sept. 5, it was announced today by The Recording Academy.

Events will include a unique afternoon jam session with GRAMMY-winning artist Keb' Mo' and members of Congress. Later that evening at an awards gala, Jones will be honored for his lifelong contributions to American music, and honorees Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) will be recognized for their legislative support of the arts and music creators.

Among the luminaries joining Keb' Mo' to salute the honorees will be four-time GRAMMY winner and Recording Academy Chair Jimmy Jam, Academy President Neil Portnow, nine-time GRAMMY winner Ray Benson (of Asleep At The Wheel), "Godfather of Go-Go" Chuck Brown, GRAMMY-winning songwriter Brett James ("Jesus Take The Wheel"), country superstar John Rich (of Big & Rich), four-time GRAMMY winner BeBe Winans and seven-time GRAMMY winner CeCe Winans.

"GRAMMYs on the Hill connects top music makers — from singers and songwriters to producers and engineers — with members of Congress in Washington to shed light on the effect music has in enriching our lives," said Portnow. "This year, as part of our 50th Celebration activities, we will highlight the importance of music preservation and education so that it continues to thrive in our culture for years to come."

Throughout the day, more than 120 music professionals from across the country will come to Washington to speak to legislators about promoting policies that improve the environment for music and its makers. Earlier in the day on Capitol Hill, the GRAMMY Foundation will showcase its programs with a special performance by Keb' Mo', who will jam with members of the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus (the "Congressional GRAMMY Band" — a group of musician members of Congress who have informally jammed at previous Academy advocacy events) in the Cannon House Office Building Caucus Room on Capitol Hill.

That evening, GRAMMYs on the Hill will move to the ballroom of the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel for its 7th annual gala dinner where The Recording Academy will honor Jones, Sen. Kennedy and Rep. Blackburn. Chesnee High School of South Carolina will receive the GRAMMY Foundation's Signature School Award and Scholarship for its outstanding commitment to music education.

For more information, please click here and here.

 

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Neil Portnow's 49th GRAMMYs Telecast Remarks

Recording Academy/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am
What if the GRAMMYs had to give up the Best New Artist category because there weren't any? Well, as long as The Recording Academy has anything to say about it, that's not going to happen! Tonight, we've already met some of this year's remarkable Best New Artist nominees, and in a few minutes, we'll see a fresh new face experience her "ultimate" GRAMMY Moment provided by The Academy.
 
When I was just 6 years old, I watched Elvis on TV, and knew what I wanted to do with my life. And thanks to my parents and the dedicated music teachers at school, I realized my dream of a career in music. Now, we need to make sure that others have that same chance.
 
Let me show you exactly what I'm talking about. Meet Anne Lee, a very talented 15-year-old public school music student, and Christian Sands, a 17 year old who won a spot in our GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble.
 
Our GRAMMY Foundation programs like GRAMMY in the Schools and GRAMMY Camp teach and encourage thousands of kids who love music, and whose lives are better for it. This underscores the most fundamental point — every child deserves exposure to music and the arts in school!
 
There are some encouraging signs out there. Just this year, The Recording Academy and the music community rallied their forces here in California to reverse the trend of reduced funding. The result: more than 100 million dollars for music education with millions more for instruments in schools.
 
The time is now to contact your elected leaders. Tell them that music is just as essential to the next generation's development as any other subject. We'll make it easy for you — go to GRAMMY.com. We'll connect you directly to your representatives so your voice can be heard.
 
You're here — or out there — because music is an important part of your life. Together let us all ensure that music stays just as vital and alive for generations still to come.