Harvey Mason jr.
Photo Courtesy of Harvey Mason jr.
Inside Harvey Mason jr.'s Journey From Producer, Songwriter & Advocate To Recording Academy President/CEO
Whether as the Interim President/CEO or the President/CEO proper, Harvey Mason jr.'s trademark is his humble, unassuming air.
Upon accepting the full-time role, "While I had not initially expected to be in this position, I remain deeply invested in the success of the organization and am motivated to help us achieve our greatest ambitions," he stated in a press release. And during a segment in the 2021 GRAMMY Awards show, Mason freely admitted he originally joined the Academy to cast a vote for himself.
This charmingly "Who, me?" demeanor is just an exterior, though; Mason has been chosen to lead the Recording Academy for very good reasons. Over the last two decades, he has proven to be an outspoken champion and advocate for all music creators.
From participating in District Advocate to speaking in front of Congress, let's take a look back at Harvey's accomplishments as a music advocate.
Let's rewind to 2016, before Mason was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Recording Academy. At that point, he co-chaired the Academy's National Advocacy Committee, which is responsible for establishing and executing the organization's advocacy positions and priorities. In this role, Mason ensured that the Academy upheld its commitments to all music creators and pushed policymakers towards developing an equitable music ecosystem.
Fighting for the rights of music creators on the airwaves has long been a chief concern of Recording Academy advocates, and in 2020, Mason put this value into action.
That May, he spoke in front of the Senate Judiciary Intellectual Property Subcommittee on the scope of music rights in sound recordings, the dire need for the United States to establish a performance right for sound recordings on AM/FM radio, and the importance of supporting music creators in the next phase of COVID-19 relief stimulus.
"Any future relief package should get people back to work, not give industries unfair advantages," Mason stated. "Unfortunately, musicians will not be able to get back to live performances soon, so the next stimulus should ensure they get paid fairly for their music that has been a lifeline for our fellow citizens."
Department Of Justice Letter
In 2014, Mason signed on to a letter encouraging the Department of Justice to review the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees.
"The music economy is changing rapidly … and the Consent Decrees have hampered the ability of ASCAP and BMI to respond to those changes in a way that provides fair value to their—and The Academy's—members," the letter read in part. Professional songwriters will only be able to make a secure living if they receive fair compensation for the public performance of their works by digital music services."
Each year, thousands of members across the country mobilize to lobby their members of Congress during the Academy's District Advocate activation. Mason become a frequent sight at these activations, including moderating a conversation with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Los Angeles Chapter Executive Director Qiana Conley in 2019.
Federal Communications Commission
On a note of security and privacy, Mason visited the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to educate Commissioners and staff on the importance of protecting wireless microphones for the music industry.
GRAMMYs On The Hill
Mason has also participated in the Academy's GRAMMYs On The Hill Awards and Advocacy Day, an annual activation in Washington, D.C. that recognizes artists and legislators who have made significant contributions to the music community. (GRAMMYs On The Hill will return on September 22, 2021.)
On a lighter note, in 2013, Mason helped get legislators in the festive mood by joining the Academy team's annual holiday reception in Washington, D.C. Mason was even kind enough to play piano for a captivated audience of members of Congress!
Songwriters & Composers Wing
As a songwriter in his own right, Mason has used his platform to advocate for causes most important to this section of the creative community. Under his leadership, the Academy launched the Songwriters & Composers Wing in March.
While the S&C Wing is new, the tireless work by its members is not. Over the years, they have proven to be an instrumental part of the Academy's advocacy work. Together, they have fought for fair market rate standards, the modernization of the mechanical royalty collection process, and, most recently, financial relief to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Advocacy team and all music advocates thank Harvey Mason jr. for his endless commitment to our causes. Together, we look forward to advancing the legislative agenda of all music creators for years to come!