District Advocate Day 2020
Courtesy Photo: GRAMMY Advocacy
District Advocate Day Unites Music Makers & Lawmakers Toward Pandemic Relief
Worlds collided today, as across the country the Recording Academy's seventh annual District Advocate day brought together the professionals who make the music we love and the members of Congress who make the laws affecting their livelihoods. Academy members engaged in a series of virtual meetings with their elected officials to discuss pressing issues impacting the music community, such as providing pandemic-related relief and assistance to the creative community, pushing for equitable treatment and social justice reforms, and ensuring that the rights of all creators are always protected.
District Advocate Day participants included GRAMMY winners Yolanda Adams, Brandy Clark, José Feliciano, John Legend and Ziggy Marley and GRAMMY nominees Victoria Monét and Offset, plus nearly 2,000 other music professionals.
The event marked the crescendo of the Academy's "Summer of Advocacy," an ongoing effort to help provide pandemic relief for music creators, to support survival of music businesses and to promote positive social change through legislation.
And it’s working. Earlier this year, Academy members helped secure important provisions in the CARES Act that provided critical support for the music community dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Today's conversations between Academy members and their Senators and Congressional Representatives took the next big step to ensure the music community is heard at a critical time for legislative support.
"District Advocate Day has always been an important initiative for music advocacy and it's especially true now," said Harvey Mason jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy. "Creators are among the hardest hit and first out of work, yet music is what brings the world together in hard times — and for many, it brings hope. Today, we raise our voices to remind legislators of the vital role music plays during this pandemic and, equally as imperative, the creators behind it who are struggling and desperately needing a helping hand from this country's leaders."
With District Advocate day, the Academy continues to amplify the voices of creators and small businesses, while also endorsing and developing additional legislation to deliver aid to creators. For instance, developed and endorsed by the Recording Academy alongside Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kansas), the Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act would allow individuals to fully expense the cost of new studio recordings on their taxes, up to $150,000, within the same year of production. Academy members encouraged their representatives to co-sponsor the HITS Act during today's meetings.
Members also advocated for passage of the Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery in Twenty-twenty (RESTART) Act, a loan program that would provide funding to cover six months of payroll, benefits, and fixed operating expenses for businesses that have taken a substantial revenue hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. For independent workers with mixed-income types, a category which includes many music creators across the country, the Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act proposed a solution to ensure unemployment relief and assist freelance workers unable to receive just unemployment aid.
Members discussed these key issues and more today in year's largest grassroots music advocacy movement. District Advocate, along with the Recording Academy's annual GRAMMYs on the Hill in April, which is on hiatus this year due to COVID-19, are the Recording Academy's premiere advocacy events, and are credited by bipartisan legislators with helping to pass the Music Modernization Act into law — the largest update to music legislation in the past 40 years.
For more information about District Advocate Day and Recording Academy advocacy initiatives, visit www.grammy.com/districtadvocate.