Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Slash of Guns N' Roses, Producer Mike Clink and Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Photo: Paul Morigi/WireImage for the Recording Academy
Giving Thanks To Music's Biggest Advocates Waving Goodbye To Washington
This year has marked a watershed in the overlapped world of music and politics. The enactment of the Hatch-Goodlatte Music Modernization Act represented the culminations of years of tireless work toward comprehensive music licensing and copyright reform. Last week's Midterm Elections changed the landscape in Congress, with the Democratic Party taking over the majority in the House of Representatives and the Republican Party expanding its majority in the Senate.
But through all this political activity of 2018, we are reminded that the achievements and progress would not have been possible without the dedication and integrity of many supportive elected leaders. As new incoming lawmakers make their way to Washington, and hard-working music creators refuel their drive toward the next frontier of creators' rights, some of the most impactful Congressional champions are preparing to leave Washington after years of service
Let's take a look at a few of our strongest retiring allies in Congress who are leaving a legacy of fairness and progress for music creators. Their willingness to listen to the professional music community and navigate our needs through the political process in order to build a better system is truly the stuff of champions.
A man so integral to the MMA his name was attached to it, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) was a patient force behind a multi-year effort to enact lasting copyright reform that produced the Hatch-Goodlatte Music Modernization Act. Goodlatte earned a reputation as an honest broker who seeks to solve complex issues through consensus. He also served as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and was honored at the 2015 GRAMMYs On The Hill Awards for his support for copyright and his understanding of music creator's unique role in American life.
Representative Joe Crowley (D-NY) will be ending his term this year. As the lead Democratic sponsor of the Allocations For Music Producers (AMP) Act, which was included in the MMA, Crowley's support went a long way toward the ultimate passage of the MMA. Crowley most recently served as Democratic Caucus Chair. The lead Republican sponsor of the AMP Act, Representative Tom Rooney (R-Fla) is also retiring this year. Rooney and Crowley were both honored alongside Zac Brown Band at the 2016 GRAMMYs On The Hill Awards for their years of support for music creators. These two co-sponsors of AMP actually went into the recording studio together back in 2011 as part of the first-ever recording session of the GRAMMY Congressional Band with Crowley on vocals/guitars and Rooney on drums.
Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced the CLASSICS Act in July 2017, which set out to close the loophole for digital radio to finally compensate pre-1972 recordings like their newer peers. As the lead Republican sponsor of the Act, Issa helped see its tenets ultimately incorporated into the MMA and his efforts now stand to benefit countless legacy artists. Issa was also a consistent, strong voice for establishing a performance right for artists on AM/FM radio. He was honored for his Advocacy efforts at the 2010 GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards.
"Rep. Issa has been a great champion of fair compensation for artists," said Daryl Freidman, Chief Industry, Government & Member Relations Officer for the Recording Academy earlier this year when Issa announced his retirement. "We will miss his friendship, leadership and humor. But before he retires, we look forward to finishing together the work we started to support music and to ensure that the current and next generation of creators are respected and compensated fairly for their work."
Finally, the other namesake of the Hatch-Goodlatte Music Modernization Act, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) will retire next month as well. Hatch officially introduced the landmark bill in the Senate, playing a key role in shepherding the comprehensive music reform package in the Senate, and ensuring it won support of more than 80 of his colleagues as co-sponsors. The MMA is just the capstone on Sen. Hatch’s long history of fighting for songwriters, artists, and all creators in Congress. A professional songwriter and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hatch understands the plight of the music community and has shown the gumption it takes to enact change on Capitol Hill. For his leadership, Sen. Hatch was honored with the very first GRAMMYs on the Hill Award in 2001.
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we'd like to thank all of these true champions of creators' rights for their service to our craft, our industry and our country.