District Advocate day is Aug. 12
Countdown To District Advocate Day: What You Need To Know
Next week, nearly 2,000 registered Recording Academy members will participate in its seventh annual District Advocate day on Aug. 12. The momentous event marks the culmination of a seven-week "Summer of Advocacy" initiative, all aimed to help provide pandemic relief for music creators, support survival of music businesses and promote positive social change through legislation.
Academy members will meet with their local lawmakers to urge them to consider the challenges creators face in today's economy in light of how music has helped us through the hard times. If music makers and music businesses are going to be able to continue to bring music into the world and into our lives, they need support.
From supporting the newly introduced HITS Act to fixing unemployment benefits to passing the RESTART Act, here are a few key issues on the table for discussion at next week's historic District Advocate day.
Survival Tools For Music Makers
Indie artists need a break, and in times of need, a small tax break could make a big difference. By supporting the Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act (H.R. 7886), lawmakers can harmonize the tax treatment of music production with other already existing provisions to get artists back in the studio.
Many music makers are self-employed and rely on a variety of income streams for their livelihoods. The CARES Act provided unemployment to self-employed workers like music creators, but an unintended consequence in the new program prevented "mixed earners" with both traditional and freelance income from getting their fair share. Congress can correct this and fix unemployment for gig workers by passing the Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act.
Additionally, now is the time for Congress to extend enhanced unemployment benefits provided by the FPUC program. The program adds $600 to the weekly unemployment benefit, which has been a lifeline in these unprecedented times. With so much of the music industry still on pause in the pandemic, extending these benefits is the right thing to do.
Support Music & Minority-Owned Businesses
As COVID relief enters the next phase, the recording studios, live venues and minority-owned businesses that have been hit particularly hard need to be considered top priorities.
Inexcusably, minority-owned businesses were overlooked by the Paycheck Protection Program and other Small Business Administration programs. Black music is a cornerstone of the music industry, and Congress must ensure that minority-owned businesses, including studios, venues and labels, can get the support they need. Dedicated funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) will help fix this inequity. Find out more and voice your support for these programs here.
For small and medium-sized businesses struggling to survive through the pandemic, passing the RESTART Act (H.R. 7481/S. 3814) is a must. The bill is essential and will provide a boost to music venues and other music businesses that remain closed with no reopening date in sight.
District Advocate provides a unique opportunity for Academy members to connect with lawmakers about urgent issues and policies affecting music creators and make a difference during such a difficult time. Want to add your voice to the chorus? Take action today, and get for the largest virtual music grassroots activation of the year on Aug. 12, District Advocate day.