The Artist Rights Alliance is releasing an open letter demanding that California urgently fix its AB5 legislation.
The live music industry and indie artists are experiencing a record shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. In that light, the Artist Rights Alliance is asking California to revisit its controversial, far-reaching AB5 legislation that passed last year. The law, as it stands, catches independent creative professionals and working artists in the crossfire by preventing short-term contractor gigs.
California’s AB5 legislation bans independent contractor relationships that artists depend upon to support themselves. The law forces bar bands, session players, freelance journalists, wedding photographers, and songwriting partners to be categorized as employees.
The result is a law that starts “imposing massive contracting, record-keeping, and other costs on professionals who can’t afford them and who genuinely don’t want or need that kind of locked in arrangement,” ARA stated.
Indeed, AB5 makes it nearly impossible for artists and creatives to put together gigs, tours, or sessions. Those kinds of creative ventures aren’t possible without an employee/employer relationship now.
“The days of hearing someone with a great sound and paying them to play on your record could be long gone,” the Artist Rights Alliance warns. “That would be bad anywhere, but it would be ruinous in California.”
The ARA says the delay in fixing the issues found in the AB5 legislation directly hurts California artists. Many indie artists find themselves unable to operate independently anymore. It is asking those who share the hope that the state will revisit AB5 to sign a petition.
Now, with California’s economy paralyzed, musicians find themselves with another severe impediment. “We strongly support the baseline effort by California and other states to provide basic protections to ride-share app drivers and other workers in changing industries,” the letter notes.
“In its effort to help these workers and others facing similar abuses, the California Legislature inadvertently set in motion changes that cause great harm to the state’s rich and historic fabric of creative arts – music, dance, photography, and journalism.”