Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) today introduced the bipartisan Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act, a bill that would allow independent music creators – including musicians, technicians, songwriters and producers – to deduct 100 percent of recording production expenses in the year they are incurred, rather than in later years.
Representatives Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Ron Estes (R-Kan.) previously introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
The federal tax code already allows film, television and theater productions to fully deduct production expenses in the year they are incurred. Under current law, music production expenses do not qualify for the same treatment. Implementing this change would help level the playing field for many small, independent creators and labels.
“Our tax laws should apply evenly to musicians as they do to other content creators,” said Senator Feinstein. “As we continue to recover from the pandemic, many creators are still struggling to make ends meet after being unable to play live shows for so long during the pandemic. Our bill provides 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.”
“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.”
“Music is a fundamental part of our lives, shaping our memories and seeing us through both good times and bad. Yet the reality is that many small creators are struggling to make ends meet, especially after the pandemic,” said Congresswoman Sánchez. “That’s why I was proud to re-introduce the HITS Act in House of Representatives in February. This bill will make it easier for independent creators to keep doing what they love most, without having to worry about putting food on the table.”
“Regardless of background, language or experiences, music moves our spirits and connects us to one another,” said Congressman Estes. “While talented writers, musicians and producers are creating the sounds that bring joy, reflection and growth, they should be able to deduct their expenses in the year they are incurred. The bipartisan HITS Act is sound, common sense legislation that supports our creative communities throughout the United States and encourages music makers of all sizes and notoriety.”
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. As recording artists continue to recover from festivals, tours and studio sessions postponed by the pandemic, this investment in countless music small businesses across the country is more important than ever.
The HITS Act is supported by the following organizations: the Recording Academy, the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), Music Artist Coalition, Artist Rights Alliance, Recording Industry Association of America, National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), SoundExchange, Global Music Rights, SESAC, National Independent Venue Association, National Independent Talent Organization, Future of Music Coalition, Digital Media Association, Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), American Society of Composers, Black Music Action Coalition, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), Gospel Music Association, Christian Music Trade Association, Songwriters of North America, SAG-AFTRA, Songwriters Guild of America, Church Music Publishers Association, and Society of Composers & Lyricists.
“At last month’s GRAMMYs on the Hill, the Recording Academy gathered music makers and leaders from across the industry to advocate for the rights of creators, speaking to lawmakers about key music legislation like the Help Independent Tracks Succeed Act,” said Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “As the HITS Act is reintroduced in the Senate, the Academy celebrates Senators Feinstein and Blackburn for joining their House colleagues, Reps. Sánchez and Estes, to advance this legislation that is essential to helping independent artists, songwriters, and producers create the music we love.”
“The HITS Act is common sense legislation that will help music creators and create jobs,” said Dr. Richard James Burgess MBE, president and CEO of A2IM. “Recording artists, their label partners and songwriters often encounter cashflow issues that slow down creative and economic output, and we know from experience in other creative sectors that changing production expensing rules would make a huge difference.”
“We thank Senators Feinstein and Blackburn, and Representatives Sánchez and Estes for their work on this important legislation,” said David Israelite, president and CEO of NMPA; Elizabeth Mathews, CEO of ASCAP; and Mike O’Neill, president and CEO of BMI. “We are pleased to support the HITS Act because it will help songwriters, composers, and music publishers expedite expensing the cost of demos they create in the process of bringing their music to fans. On behalf of America’s independent music creators, we urge Congress to swiftly enact this legislation.”
“The Nashville Songwriters Association International supports and encourages adoption of the HITS Act,” said Bart Herbison, executive director of NSAI. “Independent creators, including individual songwriters, face unique financial challenges. Allowing them to fully expense the cost of new studio recordings on their taxes in the year such expenses are incurred eases the financial burden and benefits the public because it encourages new recordings for music lovers to enjoy.”