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Enhanced Protect Working Musicians Act Introduced to Support Independent Artists

The Artists Rights Alliance (ARA) and The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) have joined forces with U.S. Representative Deborah Ross (D-NC) to introduce an enhanced version of the Protect Working Musicians Act. This legislation aims to empower small and independent artists and music creators allowing them to collectively negotiate fairer rates and terms for the use of their music online streaming services and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) developers.

The original version of the act was introduced U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL) in October 2021. Representative Ross’ revised legislation builds upon this and expands the scope, enabling working artists and independent musicians to band together and negotiate with dominant streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube, as well as A.I. developers, for compensation that aligns with market value rates.

Jen Jacobsen, Executive Director of the Artist Rights Alliance, emphasizes the need for independent artists to have a voice in discussions and negotiations regarding their potential exploitation. By removing obstacles and providing a level playing field, this legislation sends a strong message and ensures that artists have a say in decisions that affect their lives and livelihoods.

The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), a non-profit trade organization representing over 600 independently owned record labels in the United States, also supports this initiative. They recognize the urgent challenges faced working musicians and small independent labels, including the market power of streaming platforms and the unauthorized use of their work A.I. applications. This legislation aims to address these challenges and give independent music creators a fairer compensation structure.

Streaming platforms like Spotify have seen significant revenue growth, but the distribution of those revenues to artists remains uneven. Data from Spotify shows that only half of 1% of artists with music on the platform earned $10,000 or more in 2022, with self-distributed artists making up a significant portion of that group. Additionally, the average artist’s pay rate declined 43% over two years.

Notably, the legislation also aligns with the call Representative Rashida Tlaib for new streaming payment systems that directly and fairly compensate artists for their streamed music. Tlaib’s August 2022 resolution highlighted the disparity in artist compensation, with it taking over 800,000 streams per month to earn the equivalent of a minimum wage.

The plight of artist Mackenzie Miller, who struggles to earn a livable income from streaming revenue, serves as a reminder of the challenges faced independent artists. The Protect Working Musicians Act aims to rectify these issues and give artists the fundamental right to negotiate with the giants who use and distribute their work.

The introduction of this enhanced legislation marks an important step towards ensuring fair compensation and protection for independent artists in the rapidly evolving music industry.

– The Tennessean
– The Associated Press
– USA Today

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