Ridesharing giants and the music industry stand united against California’s AB5.
Ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft have formed an unlikely alliance with the music industry to oppose California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB5).
AB5 is set to go into effect on September 13th. If implemented in its current form, the bill will make it . And because these workers would then need to be identified as employees, they’d be entitled to an hourly minimum wage, health insurance, vacation days, sick time, and much more.
AB5 was written with Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing businesses in mind, and these companies oppose the legislation for obvious reasons, including that it would dramatically increase their costs and make it much harder for freelance drivers to complete gigs at their convenience. That said, the bill will also affect independent musicians, the vast majority of whom rely on one-off freelance work as they develop and release their songs.
RIAA, A2IM, and the Music Artists’ Coalition wrote a letter that made clear their opposition to AB5, which they said will result in up-and-coming artists having to “employ” producers, mixers, engineers, recording professionals, music-video creators, and many others.
Because this is financially and logistically impossible for most new musicians, the letter indicated that independent artists will likely leave the state unless sweeping exceptions are established. To be sure, the authors wrote, “Get ready, Nashville and New York — it looks like you’re about to have your own recorded-music boom…”
Lorena Gonzalez, who has represented California’s 80th Assembly District since 2013, co-authored AB5. Speaking to reporters, she stated that dialogue with music industry representatives hadn’t brought a consensus on precisely which exemptions should be included in AB5, and that as a result, no special conditions were added to the final text.
Though Gonzalez placed the blame squarely upon the shoulders of music’s representatives, it appears that these individuals (and their respective organizations) are currently unified in their opposition to the law.