Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) with Jon Secada, Rico Love and Marcella Araica
Photo by John Parra/Getty Images
District Advocate Day Is Here! Music Creators Meet With Lawmakers Across The U.S.
The big day is upon us! Today is District Advocate day, and nearly 2,000 music creators across the U.S. are in the process of meeting with their local lawmakers for the nation's largest grassroots music advocacy movement of the year.
Today is #DistrictAdvocate day—the LARGEST grassroots advocacy movement in #music! Nearly 2,000 @RecordingAcad members will meet with their US representatives to fight/advocate for music creators' rights.
Here's how you can participate: https://t.co/HtbZZwTVSV pic.twitter.com/AXC4N2UguT
— GRAMMY Advocacy (@GRAMMYAdvocacy) October 2, 2019
Nearly a year after the successful passage of the transformative Music Modernization Act, the Recording Academy is reuniting its members with members of Congress to address industry concerns, including copyright protections and establishing a performance right on terrestrial radio.
— GRAMMY Advocacy (@GRAMMYAdvocacy) October 2, 2019
Spearheaded by singer/songwriter and two-time GRAMMY-winner Jason Mraz as the Academy’s District Advocate Ambassador, and supported by a diverse group of music creators ranging from Broadway performers to sound engineers, Academy members from coast-to-coast will address industry concerns, including copyright protections and establishing a performance right on terrestrial radio.
In addition to Mraz today, District Advocate day participants include four-time GRAMMY winner Yolanda Adams, GRAMMY winner Claudia Brant, three-time GRAMMY nominee Taylor Hanson, seven-time GRAMMY-winning member of Lady Antebellum Dave Haywood, five-time GRAMMY winner Lalah Hathaway, three-time GRAMMY winner Shane McAnally, Latin GRAMMY-winning songwriter/composer/producer Rudy Pérez, singer/songwriter Caitlyn Smith and nearly 2,000 other music professionals.
We're 1⃣ day away from the LARGEST grassroots advocacy movement for #music. Join @jason_mraz (District Advocate Ambassador), @RecordingAcad members, and the music community in the fight for music creators' rights: https://t.co/Rjzz4e9V7g #DistrictAdvocate pic.twitter.com/KLQjZN1b8N
— GRAMMY Advocacy (@GRAMMYAdvocacy) October 1, 2019
Ahead of the big day, Recording Academy President/CEO Deborah Dugan weighed in on the importance of this uniting of music and politics.
"Oct. 2, 2019, will be another landmark day for music advocacy in the United States," said Dugan. "Through District Advocate Day, the Academy will empower music creators from coast-to-coast, make their voices heard, and remind legislators of the vital role they play in our communities and our culture. I'm excited to be a part of this movement to protect music creators and preserve the future of the music industry."
To break down the movement even further, the Recording Academy and its members are raising their voices today to support independent music creators, artists, producers and songwriters on a few key issues. Here's how they are making history today:
Supporting Independent Music Creators
Advocates will urge Congress to co-sponsor and pass the CASE Act, which establishes a small claims court for copyright cases as a fair and voluntary alternative to federal litigation. Copyright protection is a constitutional right for all creators, including independent artists and songwriters who don’t have the unlimited resources to protect their work against infringement. Federal litigation is expensive and time-consuming, which means many small copyright owners are powerless to stop infringement. In effect, these creators have a right without a remedy.
The CASE Act, which has already passed out of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, would give creators the remedies they deserve. The bill is expected to be considered by both chambers for a vote this fall.
Supporting Artists and Producers
The Recording Academy has long called on Congress to establish a terrestrial (AM/FM) radio performance right for artists and performers, giving these creators what they long deserve—the ability to give consent to broadcasters seeking to use their sound recordings. It is a simple principle nearly universal across industries and borders, with the domestic radio market being one of the lone exceptions in the world.
In fact, as radio broadcasters continue to lobby against giving artists and producers control over their recordings, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is calling for a double-standard when it comes to their TV stations—lobbying Congress to give TV stations the right to consent when their content is used by satellite and cable providers.
The NAB should practice what it preaches when it comes to music played by AM/FM radio. Big radio, which reaps billions by broadcasting music, is the only industry in America that uses the intellectual property of others without permission or compensation. Congress should give artists and producers control over the music they create by requiring radio broadcasters to obtain their permission before using it. Don’t support consent for broadcasters without supporting consent for artists.
It's time to tell the NAB that consent to broadcast applies to all and urge Congress to establish a public performance right for radio.
— Slight Return (@slightreturnusa) October 2, 2019
ASCAP and BMI, two of the performing rights organizations (PROs) relied on by songwriters to collect royalties for public performances, are regulated by Department of Justice consent decrees that date back to 1941. These outdated decrees constrain the PROs from securing fair compensation for their songwriters.
DOJ is currently reviewing the consent decrees to determine if they are still relevant in the modern music marketplace, and the Academy and many other stakeholder groups recently weighed in on the utility of the decrees. As the DOJ conducts its review, it should remain free to do so without interference from Congress. Any presumptive congressional interference is not only unnecessary—the Music Modernization Act requires DOJ to consult with Congress before recommending any changes to the decrees—it is also potentially disruptive to the much-needed effort to build a better and fairer market for songwriters.
In addition to Academy members meeting face-to-face with their members of Congress, fans and other members of the music community have pledged to participate online as a show of unity in support of music and those who create it. And it's not too late for YOU to join them by showing your support by sharing a message on social media via Twitter and Facebook.
For more information, visit the Recording Academy's Advocacy website, and stay tuned for more from District Advocate day 2019!