California bill passed to provide COVID relief for musicians

AB2257 passed by Govern Gavin Newsom

California’s music community is celebrating as Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2257 (AB2257) into law. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and Majority Leader Ian C. Calderon (D-Whittier), along with leading artists rights organizations, amended Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) with AB2257 to provide relief to the vast majority of affected music professionals, including recording artists, musicians, composers, songwriters and vocalists.

The legislation, which passed the California Senate unanimously, is supported by the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), Music Artists Coalition (MAC), Independent Music Professionals United (IMPU), International Allegiance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the Recording Academy, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), Songwriters of North America (SONA) and Teamsters.

“This legislation ensures musicians and other creative workers can continue to live, create, and thrive in California,” the groups state jointly. “California’s leaders promised efforts to protect workers with a bill that would not undermine or destabilize the state’s vital music economy. Today, they have kept that promise. AB2257 restores California’s leadership as a home to the creative arts and creates clear, fair rules of the road for freelance, union, and independent artists in the state.”

Enactment of AB2257 will once again permit most music professionals to follow the Borello test (as opposed to the Dynamex or ABC tests) to determine employment classification for both live performances and studio recordings. California’s adoption of AB5 in September 2019 had established a three-part “ABC” test to determine if workers are employees or independent contractors. The ABC test unintentionally affected musicians and others from the music community. In January 2020, Assemblywoman Gonzalez introduced legislation to address the unintended issues affecting musicians and other creators.

The new legislation also specifically provides for unions to continue to organize the work of recording artists, musicians, singers, and others, ensuring that current and future collective bargaining agreements will always govern in California.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.