California Based Actors, Musicians Brace For Impacts of 'Gig-Based' Bill
California musicians have started a petition which as already received over 17.5K signatures urging the government to allow them an exemption under the new AB5 bill which limits which type of services are provided contractors instead of employees.
The bill, which is set to target companies like Uber and Lyft, classifies most people as employees unless proven otherwise - with steep penalties for misrepresentation.
The petition states "Most professional musicians in California do not have assistants, lawyers, agents or business managers. Most of us make a modest income in order to pursue our craft. The costs associated with AB5 would be crippling. Incorporating or becoming an LLC is prohibitively expensive, and payroll companies do not work with our business model. If one musician is contracted by another to perform on one song on a record, and the booking musician must go through a payroll company, they must pay fees for that one musician for the entire year. Multiplied by the amount of times one musician can contract other musicians throughout the year, the costs and logistics become overwhelming for an individual."
While work under AFM contracts will not be impacted, union work is only a small fraction of being a gigging musician. Similarly, other unions like SAG-AFTRA have indicated their performers will not be affected as they are part of the "loan out" model where their employment is already under the purview of collective bargaining.
Many non-union theatres use a gig-employment model - and those companies would be subject to the new AB5 legislation. Much chatter on social media indicates without exemptions those companies may have to cease operation.
BroadwayWorld has reached out to Actors' Equity to see how their members might be affected, and will continue to follow this story.
One petition signer wrote "Please don't kill the opportunity for musicians to make a living."
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