Blackburn, Feinstein Introduce Bill to Support Independent Musicians, Music Production Workers

December 3, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Marsha Blackburn (R–Tenn.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)  introduced the bipartisan Help Independent Tracks Succeed Act, a bill that would allow musicians, technicians and producers to deduct 100 percent of recording production expenses in the year they are incurred, rather than in later years.

The federal tax code already allows film, television and theater productions to fully deduct production expenses in the year they are incurred, but not music production expenses.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Ron Estes (R-Kan.).

“Singers and songwriters lift our spirits and now need our help to get past the pandemic,” said Senator Blackburn. “These artists are the lifeblood of Nashville’s creative community. This bipartisan legislation will provide additional tax deductions to ease the burden facing our creative community by allowing our independent artists to fully deduct the cost of producing their music.”

“Because most large, public gatherings have been prohibited since the pandemic began, musicians and music producers have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus,” said Senator Feinstein. “Our bill would provide relief by allowing 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 is in line with how expenses are treated for film, television and theater productions, and it makes sense to create parity for music productions.”

The bill would allow up to $150,000 in recording production expenses to be deducted in the year they are incurred, rather than in later years.

According to the Copyright Alliance survey in June, 88 percent of creators had lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic, which was more than double the national average for other industries. Approximately half of the respondents had lost 90 percent or more of their income.

“Today’s introduction of the HITS Act in the Senate lays the groundwork for creators to produce new music and create jobs amidst a year filled with economic uncertainty,” said Harvey Mason jr., chair and interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy. “This change in the tax code – similar to the tax treatment of other creative industries – will incentivize more music production. The Recording Academy thanks Senators Feinstein and Blackburn for their leadership on this issue and for introducing the Senate companion to the House bill, which already enjoys broad, bipartisan support.”

“The American Association of Independent Music and its more than 700 record label members across the country are grateful for the support of Senators Feinstein and Blackburn in introducing the HITS Act,” said Dr. Richard James Burgess, president and CEO of A2IM. “In the face of the pandemic, musicians across the country are struggling to make a living and support their families, in part because they can’t tour or play live shows. The tax incentives contained in the HITS Act are designed to get musicians back into the recording studio by treating the costs of making a sound recording the same as production costs for other creative content. This is a common-sense, bipartisan, fiscally responsible measure that would be a great step forward for indie music, and thousands of artists in California, Tennessee and across the nation.”