Music creators have been beefing up their presence during the US election campaign to ensure that their messages reach out to the Presidential candidates and policy-makers running for Congress.
One of the leading grassroots initiatives in the field, Grammys in My District, will see over 2,000 music professionals -- artists, songwriters, performers, sound engineers, music industry executives - visit their local legislator's office to talk about their businesses For organisers the Recording Academy, known for the yearly industry show The Grammys, this advocacy initiative allows its 23,000-strong members "to address important creators' rights issues directly with their respective members of Congress, from copyright review to the impact of digital services on music makers."
Artists such as Terence Blanchard, Paula Cole, Brandon Heath, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Cyndi Lauper, Eddie Money, Paul Wall, and many others will take part in this year's event. Meetings for this year's Grammys in My District will take place in more than 315 congressional districts out of 435.
Issues raised by during the meeting with policy makers include: the introduction of performance rights on terrestrial radio; ticketing and online scalpers; fairness for songwriters with fair-market value for their songs; the reform of the consent decrees with the Department of Justice; and fairness for studio professionals with protection within the law to codify royalty payments to music producers. For the Academy, these reforms "will provide fair compensation across the music industry, improve the fan experience, and bring music laws into the modern age, addressing compensation from digital and streaming platforms as well as terrestrial radio."
Daryl Friedman, Chief Industry, Government & Member Relations Officer for The Recording Academy told Music Week that Grammys in my District "has grown exponentially" over the past two years, with an increasing number of Academy members meeting with members in Congress. "That’s an indication that there’s a growing awareness and that they want to be involved," adds Friedman. "We can now mobilise thousands of people."
Friedman forrecasts that in 2017 Grammys in My District will take place across all the United States, covering all 435 districts.
Another initiative, taken by the Copyright Alliance and CreativeFuture - two organisations that support creative communities — have partnered to send open letters to candidates and set up a petition (Change.org), to "ensure that the views of the creative communities are heard." The letters and petition highlight the need for complementary relationship between a strong copyright system, free expression, creativity, innovation, and technology and the need for strong copyright protection.
The letters, signed by over 35,000 creatives, audience members, fans, and consumers, outline that if the internet is a powerful and democratising force, there is also the need for a strong copyright system that rewards creativity and promotes a healthy creative economy. “The copyright narrative in Washington in recent years has been driven by certain stakeholders who want to diminish creatives’ rights for their own commercial benefit, undermining our ability to earn a living, support our families, create jobs, and enjoy freedom of speech and expression,” said CreativeFuture CEO Ruth Vitale. "These letters from the creative communities demonstrate that strong copyright protections should be an important priority for our current and future leaders."
Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid added: “Copyright-dependent industries and individual creators not only contribute greatly to our economy, but help shape our culture through new ideas, expressions, and innovations. Copyright law is the wellspring of American leadership in these industries. We cannot allow our leaders to lose sight of the value it brings to all Americans.”