Two Weeks’ Notice: GRAMMYs on the Hill 2015 Has Great Timing
What a difference two weeks make. In that time span, GRAMMYs on the Hill demonstrated the impact that music creators can have when they unite together to make a difference.
Monday, April 13, 2015:
Music creator champions Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, and Congressman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announce the launch of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act in New York, organized by the MusicFIRST Coalition. Flanked by a crowd of music legends and other stakeholders from the music community, including Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow, Rep. Nadler outlines a bill that responds to key issues of concern to music creators: establishing an AM/FM performance right, creating a fair-market rate standard for all radio platforms, closing the pre-1972 loophole, protecting songwriter royalties, and codifying payments to music producers in law. Seeing this bill come to light after months of advocating for a comprehensive approach to music issues is an achievement for all stakeholders.
The timing of the bill is not an accident, as Rep. Nadler states that in just two days Academy members will be arriving in Washington, D.C. for GRAMMYs on the Hill. ,
Wednesday, April 15, 2015:
Academy members, congressional staff, and special guests convene at The Hamilton in Washington, D.C., for the GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards. The Academy honors Congressman Nadler as well as the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, thanking them for their ongoing support for music creators and intellectual property rights.
As if that isn't enough, a highlight of the evening is a surprise presentation by First Lady Michelle Obama to the evening’s creator honoree, singer and songwriter Alicia Keys. Obama expresses precisely why Keys is so influential; she has a galvanizing effect on others in her efforts to support various issues. As a founding member of the new GRAMMY Creators Alliance, Keys and other founding members are uniquely positioned to ensure that the next generation of music makers will receive fair compensation for what they create. With thanks to the evening's MC, Hunter Hayes, as well as Robert Earl Keen, American Authors, Angela Hunte, Ledisi, and an all-star ensemble featuring Kirk Whalum and members of the Academy’s Board of Trustees, GRAMMYs on the Hill keeps music at the forefront through live performances – even getting nearly two dozen Members of Congress up onto the stage for a sing-along.
Thursday, April 16, 2015:
Energized by the week's events, GRAMMY advocates approach Advocacy Day on with a singleness of purpose. Prepped for their mission during the morning briefing, advocates are further inspired by an addresses by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, and entertained by Los Angeles Chapter board member Ray Parker, Jr., who debuts an advocacy-themed version of his iconic hit "Ghostbusters" to rally the crowd. Most importantly, with the new Fair Play Fair Pay Act on the table, GRAMMY advocates have a focused set of talking points for the more than 80 meetings scheduled with congressional offices on Capitol Hill.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015:
The momentum does not end there. Two weeks after GRAMMYs on the Hill, the House Judiciary Committee — chaired by Awards honoree Goodlatte —convenes what is likely the final hearing in its two-year review of copyright law. The only witness is U.S. Register of Copyright Maria Pallante, who speaks at length about the urgent need for immediate changes to copyright law. Topline in her testimony is her recommendation to act now on music licensing reform, which was the focus of the U.S. Copyright Office report issued in February that agreed with many of the recommendations made by The Recording Academy. Pallante stresses the need for a performance right for AM/FM radio, and praises the Fair Play Fair Pay Act as "an excellent legislative framework." Further, Pallante singles out The Recording Academy for praise, noting that her series of creator roundtables at various Academy chapters over the past year have been "the most inspiring part of the work" of copyright review for her. The roundtables, which will continue in the coming months, were The Recording Academy’s response to Pallante's expressed desire in a 2013 hearing to meet firsthand with music creators about their concerns.
Thursday, April 30, 2015:
The Recording Academy announces an internal realignment between its Advocacy and Membership divisions to create an even stronger voice for its 24,000 members. The new alignment will strengthen member services programs and better enable members at each of the Academy’s 12 regional chapters to elevate music rights issues and educate lawmakers on the professional lives and challenges of the music makers in their districts.
In just two weeks, GRAMMYs on the Hill radically changes the debate on music policy in Washington D.C. and increases the impact of Academy membership. This year’s GRAMMYs on the Hill theme, “Music Creators United,” embodies the impact that the music community can have when we work together to advance the interests of creators. The time is right for advocacy. Get involved and make your voice heard.
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