Music Updates

RIAA: ‘FAIR Act’ Jeopardizes Next Generation of Artists (Guest Op-Ed)

“It would deprive the next generation of needed investment and jeopardize the health and vitality of the entire music community right as our industry is getting back on track.”

Just as we are finally looking forward to seeing artists perform in front of audiences after more than a year of lockdown, an old legislative proposal that was considered and settled in California 20 years ago has been resurrected and threatens to upend investment in new artists. Using the name “FAIR Act,” its main proponents say that it rectifies an injustice regarding recording contracts and fairly benefits all artists, but in fact, it would deprive the next generation of needed investment and jeopardize the health and vitality of the entire music community right as our industry is getting back on track.

The bill’s supporters claim it is needed to bring recording deals in line with other personal services contracts in California, which limit services to no more than seven years. This is simply wrong. California’s record contracts are already subject to this rule, and artists cannot be forced to stay on contract any longer. Instead, the bill would eliminate a provision that gives a record label recourse if a successful artist ends their contract after seven years without delivering the recordings promised. While this change might be good for some lawyers, it would be entirely unfair and have devastating consequences for artist investment, a fact that was previously recognized and upheld by California’s legislature.

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