Perhaps the biggest question that today’s producer has is, “How do I get paid?” Back in the days when physical sales were king, this was never a problem as producers were paid handsomely for their services from sales royalties. Even though there are still physical sales involved today, that more than likely will not pay for a producer’s services the way it used to. Last year a piece of legislation known as the Allocation For Music Producers, or AMP Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives and re-introduced this past February. Recently a Senate version was also introduced.
The Amp Act creates a way for producers and engineers to get paid directly from SoundExchange when recordings that they worked on are played on satellite radio and online radio services like Pandora. Believe it or not, if passed this will be the first time that producers and engineers are even mentioned in U.S. copyright law, which has been an oversight too long in coming.
It should be noted that the legislation is supported by both parties in the Senate and House, which should bode well for its passage. One of the reasons why is that it really doesn’t create a new royalty since paying producers, and in some cases engineers, via royalties has always been done, The legislation simply formalizes the practice.
That said, the AMP Act is expected to be included in a package of legislation that address copyright reform. Other bills included will be the Classics Act and the Music Modernization Act. The Classics Act that would force both terrestrial and internet radio stations to pay royalties on songs recorded before 1972 (they currently don’t, which is pretty unbelievable). The Music Modernization Act will amend the current U.S. Copyright Act to change the way the Copyright Royalty Board determines its rates. That last one is a bit more controversial, but still there’s no party opposition either way, which means that we should get some meaningful copyright updating soon.
While the AMP Act will finally get producers and engineers paid from the radio version of streaming, it doesn’t cover on-demand services like Spotify or Apple Music, which make up the bulk of streaming royalties these days. That said, it’s a start, and any money flowing into deserving pockets is a good thing.