Behind The Record Advocacy: The Recording Academy’s Next Campaign on Capitol Hill
Building off the success of the Recording Academy's annual Behind the Record initiative, the Academy is this year expanding its commitment to give credit where credit is due with Behind the Record Advocacy, a new virtual advocacy program for Academy members to champion the rights of creators behind the record.
Taking place Thursday, Oct. 14, Behind the Record Advocacy will see hundreds of Recording Academy members from across the country virtually meet with nearly 200 congressional offices to educate U.S. Senators and Representatives on the creators behind their favorite record and discuss the key issues impacting the music community.
In these meetings, Recording Academy members will illuminate how their favorite records weren't just the work of the featured artist, but are instead an assortment of behind-the-scenes music creators—some who haven't been fairly remunerated or have had their rights protected under law.
Some of the notable meetings include with members and staff from the offices of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Behind the Record Advocacy will highlight the work of the songwriters, composers, musicians, vocalists, producers, engineers, and mixers behind some of music’s biggest, beloved records, all while pointing out sobering statistics on the matter. For example, according to data compiled by Economists, Inc., the U.S. music industry contributes $170 billion to the U.S. economy each year—a sizeable sum that shows the economic value of the music industry. Yet, according to a 2018 survey conducted in partnership with MusiCares, the average musician earns just $35,000 per year.
This contrast should encourage action from those in a position of influence to make big changes. Academy members will urge lawmakers to protect creators' rights so that all creators can earn a fair living and be protected by the law.
One way for Congress to help, the Recording Academy will argue, is through specific legislation. The Recording Academy hasn't been shy about supporting the bipartisan and bicameral Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act, which will be on the agenda for the Behind the Record Advocacy meetings.
The HITS Act is designed to allow artists and record producers the ability to deduct 100 percent of sound recording production expenses in the year they are incurred rather than amortized over the life of the recording, giving artists a reason to get back in the studio and record new music.
The Recording Academy also plans to highlight the American Music Fairness Act, which ensures that artists, performers, producers, and music creators are fairly compensated when their songs are played on terrestrial radio stations. On the other hand, it opposes the Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA), which, under the auspices of supporting broadcast localism, puts members of Congress on the record against paying the artists and performers in their district.
The conversation continues beyond these virtual meetings, too: participants will also be amplifying their messages across social media throughout Behind the Record Advocacy, which leads into the Recording Academy’s wider Behind the Record initiative the following day (Friday, Oct. 15).
The Recording Academy eagerly anticipates these dynamic talks with top lawmakers and can't wait to see how lawmakers will act in the service of all music creators—when they find out who's really Behind the Record.