Jason Mraz & Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
Photo: Majority Leader Hoyer Twitter Post
Jason Mraz Meets With Law Makers In D.C. To Talk Music Issues
Musical and judicial worlds collided yesterday in D.C. as singer/songwriter Jason Mraz visited Capitol Hill to meet with law makers to advocate for music creators rights. In addition to discussing legislation affecting music makers, Mraz struck up some live music, leading an impromptu jam, reminding everyone within ear shot how music makes our lives better in so many ways.
During the meetings Mraz was able to lay out how he and his fellow songwriters and performers are affected by bills currently in process, speaking with a bipartisan and bicameral group of law makers, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL).
In the year that has passed since the historic Music Modernization Act (MMA) was signed into law, artists are still making their voices heard through direct advocacy.
"The MMA works because of Advocacy, because music creators spoke. We deserve to be treated fairly. There are still some issues on the table that we'd like to move through the House and Senate," Mraz said, before going into detail on the policy at hand.
In an instant proof of the value of these meetings, Majority Leader Hoyer tweeted, "We won't give up on ensuring artists are duly compensated!" along with some photos of he and the GRAMMY winner.
But Mraz is not new to leading these talks with law makers. He was named District Advocate day ambassador and led the nearly 2,000 Recording Academy members across the country who met with local lawmakers to raise their collective voices on behalf of musicians, artists, producers and engineer.
This time around, he spoke about the importance of passing The Copyright Alternative Small Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act), which establish a small claims court to ensure all songwriters can enjoy the same copyright protection for their work. The bill recently passed by a landslide 410-6 vote in the House and will move next to the Senate, making Mraz's timing perfect.
They also discussed the new Ask Musicians For Music (AM-FM) Act, which was introduced just last month by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in the Senate and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in the House. The bill focuses on removing a loophole enjoyed by large broadcasters who have subsidized their business by using music at will and without paying the hard-working performers. Mraz was able to explain how the AM-FM Act would finally fix this and empower music creators to grant permission and seek payment.
But it wasn't all business. For an impromptu performance at Speaker Pelosi’s holiday reception in the Capitol, Mraz joined a six-piece army band, the Six-String Soldiers, launching into a rendition of "I'll Be Home For Christmas."
Following the meetings, members of Congress, Congressional staff, and other industry members joined Mraz and the Advocacy team at a reception in the Recording Academy's D.C. office. As another reward for a day of good work, Mraz performed a few songs for the crowd.
Mraz's day on Capitol Hill reminds us of this: advocacy works. And you don't have to be a GRAMMY winner to raise your voice of support for the CASE ACT, AM-FM Act, and other legislation affecting the livelihood of music creators. Contact your Members of Congress today and urge them to support the music they love and the people who make it on these issues.