As artists continue to negotiate the new and rather murky waters of AI content, the revised Protect Working Musicians Act (PWMA) aims to give independent artists more bargaining power when negotiating with major streaming platforms and AI developers. To better understand the impact of this legislation, I asked music composer, Dr. David Mitchell, to share his views.
According to congress.gov, “This bill allows certain individual music creator owners to collectively negotiate music licensing terms with dominant online music distribution platforms. Individual music creator owners include musicians, producers, and technicians who own the copyright to a recording and either (1) earned less than $1 million in associated revenues during the prior year, or (2) qualify as a record production and distribution small business”.
For too long, independent artists have struggled to earn a fair wage from streaming services like Spotify. The market dominance of these tech giants makes it incredibly difficult for small artists to negotiate fair rates. This bill would allow indie artists to join together and collectively bargain for better compensation. No longer could Spotify or Apple Music ignore the demands of independent creators.
The explosion of AI music applications poses similar problems. Many AI companies use music without proper licensing or compensation. By banding together, independent artists could ensure our work is not exploited by unregulated AI. This technology holds great promise, but progress should not come at the expense of creative professionals.
As both a musician and composer, I understand we must embrace new innovations. But as we pave the road ahead, we cannot leave independent artists behind. Organizations like the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and Artist Rights Alliance (ARA) are right to endorse this legislation. I encourage all artists and music lovers to add their voices in support as well. Please consider joining these organizations and supporting this legislation.
The future brings many wonders, but music will always be created by human performers, composers, and technicians. Our art and livelihoods must be protected. I applaud Representative Ross for introducing a bill that defends the rights of working musicians. Let’s work together to see it passed into law.
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