AB5 impacts Event Entertainment, A/V, Musician, and Booking Agents

Written by Avi S.

Los Angeles

Business Owner, Independent Contractor, or Both?

Both, depending on the situation


March 6, 2020

Tell us about the type of work you do as an Independent Contractor and/or as a Business Owner. What is a regular day or week like doing the work you do?

I’ve been in the music business for 30 years. In the 30 years, I’ve worn and continue to ware many hats which is necessary in order to make enough money to support my family.

Married with three Children ages- 12, 8 & 7. My youngest, diagnosed with autism.
My job titles include:

Events Entertainment Company owner, Booking Agent, Audio & Video installation for houses of worship, Sound for live events, DJ, Drummer, Percussionist Live & Studio.

50% of the work I do myself, 50% I use independent contractors. i.e. Sound Tech’s, Lighting Tech, Musicians, DJ’s.

On a given week, I may have 2-6 events. I may play drums and provide sound for a Temple Gig on Fri, DJ a wedding sat, provide sound & lighting for a Corp event sun AM & play a Jazz gig sun night.

Has working as an Independent Contractor been a choice or a necessity for you? If so why?

There is really no other option to make a living with my skill sets.
I’ve tried working for AEG & Live Nation, but these jobs limited my earning potential and didn’t allow the flexibility to care for my children. Especially my special needs child.

How have Independent Contractors been essential to your business model?

I’ve never known any other model that works for this particular industry.
*aside from the Record Industry which has a very different business model*
AB-5 as written makes it virtually impossible for me to run my company without going bankrupt.
IC’s are an integral part of this business. I can choose and in-turn, others can choose to work with me or not based on a particular event or gig presented.

What do you enjoy most about being an Independent Contractor or Business Owner?

Both are very competitive, which is healthy. As a business owner and freelancer you have to work constantly on your business and artistry. My business succeeds or fails because of me not anyone else.
I’m constantly having to upgrade my equipment to be on pair with my competitors.

As an artist, I continue to practice My skills to stay competitive. This is a life long journey.

What has been the immediate impact of AB5 on your ability to do work and/or make an income?

Thus far I’ve only lost one client.

But more are sure to follow if AB-5 as written continues.
For my business, I’m frantically working to figure out best practices to be able to continue having a business.
At the end of the day, the cost of doing business both as a IC and company owner just jumped 30-60%. Surly the end clients won’t pay these increases, leaving the 100’s of thousands of IC’s and small business left with nothing.
And very likely homeless.

What are your long term concerns about AB5 or other similar legislation imposing more strict regulations on Independent Contract work?

I firmly believe, that once the government sees how much economic harm & impact AB-5 has and will continue to do to California’s economy, the Law will change. Unfortunately I believe a lot more damage will be done before this is realized.

The AFL-CIO has no right to dictate how work is done, who works, for how much and for how long. For those not directly a member of a union.

If they had built 300 unions for the missed classified IC’s, and incentivized those to join those unions, this would be a very different conversation.

The fact that assembly bill five was put into law is discriminatory and unconstitutional.


If you could tell legislators directly one thing about Independent Contract work, what would it be?

This is how the music business has worked for hundreds of years. If you don’t like our business, the least you could do is educate yourself in how our business is conducted before killing it.

More Personal Stories

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AB5 impacts Interpreters/Translators

AB5 impacts Interpreters/Translators

Because of the nature of our work. It’s sporadic there’s not need to have someone as an employee. I may use someone one day and not use them the remainder of the year. We contact interpreters based on their availability, so I couldn’t ever hire the same interpreter as they may be tied up elsewhere.



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