Easing the Financial Burden Placed on Independent Artists
The Recording Academy worked directly with Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Ron Estes (R-Kansas) and Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to introduce the bipartisan and bicameral “Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act” (H.R.1945/S.752).
What Is the HITS Act?
The HITS Act was created to help independent artists get back into the studio to create new music. Currently, individual recording artists and record producers are required to amortize production expenses for tax purposes over the economic life of a sound recording. These artists and producers should be allowed an election to deduct 100% of their production expenses for records created in the United States in the year such expenses are incurred, in the same manner that qualified film and television production expenses are allowed to be expensed. The HITS Act would allow an individual to fully expense the cost of new studio recordings on their taxes, up to $150,000.
Why Do We Need the HITS Act?
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, life changed for everyone. For the music creators in our local communities, the fallout was quick. They were among the first out of work– music festivals were canceled, tours were axed, and studio sessions were indefinitely postponed. While many artists adapted by streaming live performances online for their fans, these streams primarily served to preserve the connection with fans as the income generated, if any, pales in comparison to what has been lost.
Emergency aid in the CARES Act was a vital lifeline, but we must look ahead to recovery. Creators across the country are not looking for a handout. They want to work. They want to create. The HITS Act is a bipartisan bill born out of discussions with creators. As independent creators hope to safely re-enter the studio and begin creating the music we love, the HITS Act would help incentivize the creation of great new music.
“Like families and workers across the country, music producers and creators in each of our communities have been hit hard by this pandemic. In fact, they were among the first out of work as tours and festivals were canceled, venues shuttered, and studio sessions were postponed…I'm proud to re-introduce the HITS Act. This bill will make things just a little easier for the small, independent creators that make the music we often turn to during hard times like this."
– Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, Sponsor of the HITS Act
“As for so many Americans, shutdowns and social distancing brought havoc for small recording artists over the past year…The bipartisan HITS Act will help thousands of independent music creators around the country by providing common sense tax savings on certain expenses – giving this industry the targeted relief it needs as our nation recovers."
– Congressman Ron Estes, Sponsor of the HITS Act
Who Supports the HITS Act?
Championed by the Recording Academy, the legislation is supported by many members of the music ecosystem, including the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), SAG-AFTRA, Music Artists Coalition, Artists Rights Alliance, Recording Industry Association of America, National Music Publishers Association, SoundExchange, Global Music Rights, SESAC, National Independent Venue Association, National Independent Talent Organization, Future of Music Coalition, Digital Media Association, Nashville Songwriters Association International, ASCAP, BMI, Gospel Music Association, Christian Music Trade Association and Songwriters of North America.
What’s Next for the HITS Act?
After successful advocacy initiatives by the Recording Academy and its members, the HITS Act was included in its entirety in the Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The comprehensive spending package cleared the House on November 19, 2021 and is currently pending in the Senate. The Recording Academy continues to work with the bill's sponsors, senate leadership, and key members of the Senate Finance Committee to ensure that the HITS Act can swiftly become law in the 117th Congress.
To help advance the bill, supporters are encouraged to contact their lawmakers and ask for their support:
News About the HITS Act
- House Passes Build Back Better Act with HITS Act Included
- Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act Reintroduced in the House and Senate
- Recording Academy Aligns with HITS Act to Help Indie Artists
- New Congressional Bills Seeks to Encourage Music Creation Through Tax Code Change
- Congresswoman Introduces Bill to Help Independent Musicians
- Recording Academy Takes Lead in Championing the HITS Act to Support Independent Music Makers During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Sens. Feinstein and Blackburn Introduce the HITS Act in the Senate
- Senate Introduces HITS Act Companion Bill to Provide Tax Breaks for Music Creators