New Congress Webinar
Photo: Recording Academy Advocacy
Legislators, Creators Join Recording Academy's Webinar On Music And The New Congress
On January 3rd, the 117th Congress officially started with the swearing-in of lawmakers. While COVID-19 relief package passed at the end of last year was a step in the right direction, the new Congress must continue to pass creator-friendly legislation in the immediate future, including additional financial relief for struggling creators and the HITS Act.
To help music advocates understand the recent power shift in Washington, D.C., the Recording Academy hosted the "New Congress Webinar" on Monday (Feb. 1). This webinar featured current and former members of Congress, along with Academy member advocates, to discuss how the new Congress will impact the creative workforce, and how advocates can help shape the legislative branch's agenda.
The webinar's first panel was moderated by Daryl Friedman, the Academy's Chief Advocacy Officer, and featured Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas). Representing many members of the creative workforce, Congresswoman Sánchez championed the Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act in the previous Congress, and shared the importance of actively contacting your elected leaders. When discussing the past year's numerous challenges, Congressman McCaul, another champion for music-friendly legislation, spoke to the universally healing nature of music, arguing that, "Music transcends politics…we are looking to the musician and creator to help us get through this."
Following the first panel, Kelley Purcell, the Academy's Vice President of Membership & Industry Relations, lead a discussion with Academy members on the power of challenging members of Congress to support music-friendly policies. Tracy Hamlin, a Recording Academy National Trustee for the Washington, D.C. Chapter, described the importance of advocacy, "It was very important to me to take advantage of the opportunity to be a voice at the table, share my story with my elected leaders, and to really help to humanize the many issues we face as creators today." Andrew Joslyn, an Academy National Trustee for the Pacific Northwest Chapter, and Alex Ritchie, a member of the Los Angeles Chapter and an artist, producer, and songwriter, also shared their experiences of being an advocate on behalf of the creative workforce.
The final conversation was held between Diane Blagman, a Washington, D.C. Chapter Governor and two former members of Congress, J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) and Albert Wynn (D-Md.). During the panel, Forbes stressed the importance of sharing "what the pundits don't tell you" about the interworking of the legislative process, while Wynn, a jazz enthusiast, outlined the goals of the Biden Administration and Democratic Majorities in both the House and Senate.
The intended takeaway from the webinar was to stress the importance of music advocacy, and demonstrate the viability of creator-friendly legislation in the new legislation session. If you have yet to view, the full webinar is available on the Academy's Facebook page.