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Home » Recent News » California Passes Bill to Provide Relief to Music Professionals

California Passes Bill to Provide Relief to Music Professionals


California’s music community received a major victory in early September when Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2257 (AB2257) into law. The law, which is an amendment of California’s “Gig Economy” Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) from last year, provides protections for workers against misclassification.

Enactment of AB2257 allows 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. The law fixes the AB5 law of 2019, which created a three-part “ABC” test to determine if workers are employees or independent contractors—and unintentionally penalized music professionals.

In January 2020, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) introduced AB2257 to provide relief to the vast majority of affected music professionals, including recording artists, musicians, composers, songwriters and vocalists. The new legislation also provides for unions to continue to organize the work of music professionals.

“AB 2257 represents a comprehensive framework for employment law that makes a clear distinction between employer-employee relationships and professionals that run their own independent businesses,” Gonzalez said. “AB2257 strikes a balance and continues to provide protections for workers against misclassification that had previously gone unchecked for decades under the old rules.”

The legislation, which passed the California Senate unanimously, was 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 stated 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.”

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