The AMP Act Turns Up The Volume On Fair Pay For Studio Pros

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The AMP Act Turns Up The Volume On Fair Pay For Studio Pros

Advocacy/Jun 21, 2017 - 07:14 pm

In the ongoing push to achieve fair pay for all music creators, the discussion tends to fall mainly on performers and songwriters. But no longer.

Producers and engineers have an indispensable role in the creation of recorded music and therefore a stake in the discussion of fair pay for music creators. Traditionally, how and how much these professionals are compensated in performance royalties for their work has been left for the concerned parties – the artist, and the producer or engineer – to work out amongst themselves.  And SoundExchange, the nonprofit entity that collects and distributes digital performance royalties for artists, has chosen to honor agreements between artists and producers and issue direct payments to producers when appropriate.

Now, for the first time in U.S. history, there is finally a bill designed to address the needs of studio professionals. The Allocation for Music Producers Act, or AMP Act (H.R. 1457), will ensure that producers get efficient and direct payment of performance royalties they are due. The bill will create a statutory right for producers to receive royalties from SoundExchange when they have a letter of direction from a featured artist.  And it will create a new process by which producers can request royalties from artists for older recordings when there is no letter of direction in place, if the artist does not object.

This week, the AMP Act is being formally introduced by Congressmen Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) in Washington, D.C., while I’ll be discussing the new bill at a GRAMMY Producers Panel at the South By Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas. With the support of Crowley, Rooney, and other congressional friends to music creators on Capitol Hill, we look forward to making The AMP Act a law that provides fair pay for the behind-the-scenes contributors to recorded music.  Ultimately, we hope the Act will become part of the larger, music omnibus (or “musicbus”) bill that will address the important issues for all creators.

It was my pleasure to first announce the existence of the AMP Act before a roomful of producers and engineers at the Producers & Engineers Wing GRAMMY Week Celebration Honoring Nile Rodgers last month in Los Angeles, where the news was greeted with cheers. It was due to the considerable input of the P&E Wing’s Steering Committee that the bill was crafted.

The AMP Act is also the natural progression of work already being done by SoundExchange, the independent digital performance rights agency, which has already been paying out producer shares voluntarily. SoundExchange is partnering with The Recording Academy to push for the passage of this groundbreaking new legislation.

It’s more than time to make sure that all the contributors to recorded music get their fair share.

To tell your congressional representative to support the AMP Act, click here.

 

 

The Recording Academy's Black Music Collective & Amazon Music Announce Return Of "Your Future Is Now" Scholarship Program; Applications Now Open

Graphic: The Recording Academy

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The Recording Academy's Black Music Collective & Amazon Music Announce Return Of "Your Future Is Now" Scholarship Program; Applications Now Open

The "Your Future Is Now" annual scholarship program aims to provide mentorship opportunities and donations to HBCU students and music programs.

Recording Academy/May 12, 2022 - 04:00 pm

The Recording Academy's Black Music Collective (BMC) and Amazon Music bring back their "Your Future Is Now" scholarship program, which aims to provide select students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) the opportunity to learn and explore all facets of the music industry. First launched in February 2021, the collaboration offers select students currently enrolled at a HBCU networking opportunities with esteemed members of the music industry, including an immersive rotation program with Amazon Music and Recording Academy department leads, providing each student a detailed look at their particular field of work within the music industry. This year, the BMC will select four students currently enrolled at a HBCU for the program who will each receive a scholarship of $10,000. To coincide with these scholarships, the BMC and Amazon Music will also award two HBCUs a $10,000 grant each to be used for equipment for their music programs.

Visit the Your Future Is Now scholarship program page to apply for the scholarship.

The "Your Future Is Now" scholarship application goes live today (Thursday, May 12). Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident pursuing a bachelor's degree in music, music business, business administration, marketing, communications, or a related field. All applicants must submit a current and complete grades transcript, a personal statement, a creative video showing their creativity, and one online recommendation. The deadline to apply for the scholarship program is Friday, June 10.

"Our commitment to show up for the next generation of Black talent and create pathways for them to succeed continues with the return of the 'Your Future Is Now' scholarship," Vice Chair of the Recording Academy Board of Trustees and BMC Chair Rico Love said. "We're thrilled to bring back this program with Amazon Music that creates invaluable mentorship opportunities for students as they begin their careers in the music industry."

"We are honored to continue collaborating with the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective," said Ryan Redington, vice president of music industry at Amazon Music. "Through the 'Your Future Is Now' scholarship, together we can help support the next generation of Black musicians at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, from equipment and funds to a firsthand view at a variety of roles within the industry."

Learn more about the Black Music Collective and the "Your Future Is Now" scholarship program.

"Black Music Saved The World": How The Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective Celebrated Positive Change For The Culture & Community

Meet Recording Academy Co-President Valeisha Butterfield Jones: The Executive Discusses Her DEI Roots, Her Life In Music & Her Mission To Make The Music Industry A Fairer Space For All

Valeisha Butterfield Jones

Photo: Sam Harris

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Meet Recording Academy Co-President Valeisha Butterfield Jones: The Executive Discusses Her DEI Roots, Her Life In Music & Her Mission To Make The Music Industry A Fairer Space For All

For Recording Academy Co-President Valeisha Butterfield Jones, diversity, equity and inclusion aren't values to pay lip service to: They must encompass every facet of the Recording Academy and the music industry at-large for both to thrive

Recording Academy/Nov 5, 2021 - 09:52 pm

After the reckoning on race in America in 2020, making sure people of all sorts are represented, respected and heard in the workplace took priority for some 85 percent of global employers. It also elevated those who uphold the values of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) — including Valeisha Butterfield Jones, the newly appointed Co-President of the Recording Academy.

Before accepting the role in 2021, alongside Co-President Panos A. Panay, Butterfield Jones was the Academy's first-ever Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer. "Valeisha has been a force in driving systemic change and enhancing equal opportunities for underrepresented groups across entertainment, technology and politics," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said in 2020, the year she assumed that role.

And it's just that ability that led Mason jr. to bring her into the triage of Academy leaders, shifting to his role as CEO. How did Butterfield Jones navigate her trajectory to the executive leadership team at the Recording Academy? By never losing sight of her values — or her vision — as she maneuvered through the music industry for a quarter of a decade.

Read More: The Recording Academy Names Valeisha Butterfield Jones And Panos A. Panay As Co-Presidents

Butterfield Jones has constructed a singular legacy in the DEI space. After getting her start at HBO Sports, she worked as the global head of inclusion for Google, Inc., served as the national youth vote director for the Obama for America campaign, and served as the national executive director and senior vice president of Rush Communications / The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.

She's also the co-founder of Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN), a nonprofit, global coalition of people committed to the balanced, positive portrayal of women in the entertainment industry. Naturally, Butterfield Jones' mission also touches on the disability sphere; she was the national director of diversity and inclusion for the Alzheimer's Association.

Butterfield Jones's efforts have since garnered national acclaim: Institutions from Forbes to Fortune to Elle have recognized her.

Want to know more about this dynamic, young leader making the Recording Academy and the music industry at-large a more equitable and inclusive space? Get to know Valeisha Butterfield Jones via her work, wisdom and words.

Tell me about your early life and communion with music that started you down this path as Co-President of the Recording Academy.

My path to this role has been a long and rewarding one, for now — gosh! — almost 25 years.

It began when I was a child. When I was growing up in Wilson, North Carolina, I had a deep, deep passion for music. I was a superfan. I was the kid that listened to the radio all day — whatever new album was coming out, I was the first in line at the record store to buy it. Eventually, it evolved into me wanting to understand a little bit more of the business behind the art that I love so much.

[In the '90s,] Atlanta was a big hub for music as it is today. So, that was one of the key drivers for me to go to Atlanta, enroll in Clark Atlanta University [in 1996], and land my first job in music, working for Wu-Tang Clan. That's where it all began. It's been this beautiful, hard journey for almost 25 years — and I would not change a thing.

What was it like to take the leap from a DEI role to Co-President of the Recording Academy? What convinced you to accept the role?

It's an exciting leap — and not one that I expected. I was just really excited about the opportunity for DEI to be in such a senior leadership position at the Academy.

I think it really was a win for every DEI practitioner and person working in DEI across the globe. I don't want to overstate it, but I really feel like DEI is a business imperative and more companies and organizations are recognizing it as one. Harvey was such a visionary and leader, in my opinion, for seeing the value of DEI in his office. I just really appreciate the trust that he has in me to take on this new role.

What went through your mind when Harvey asked you and Panos to be Co-Presidents? Were there any reservations on your end?

I'll never forget the call. He called me one evening and said, "Hey, I have this idea. Would you consider taking on this role as Co-President?" It was an immediate "yes." I didn't need to think about it.

I felt and still feel so honored — and quite frankly, blessed — to be able to do this work in a different way. So, zero hesitation, all excitement — really humbled by it. I feel ready.

As Co-President, what are your overall strategies to elevate the Recording Academy and uplift all music professionals?

First, it starts with unity. Every day, you hear our Chair of our national Board of Trustees, Tammy Hurt, and our CEO, Harvey Mason jr., talk about unity — and that's big. So often, we want to skip to the business. But we also have to be in the business of unity, and that's something that I know is a top priority for us and will continue to be.

The second is transparency: continuing to share what we can, when we can, to the widest possible audience. Always thinking about what we can share around our progress, what we can share about what we've learned — or even the areas that we want to improve — is important.

But then for us, it's global. So we're thinking about a global strategy. How do we reach more people to fulfill our mission in non-U.S. markets, while also making sure that we're expanding our offerings here in the U.S.?

You'll be hearing a lot more from us about what our plans are around that strategy — how we plan to always be more inclusive — and a part of that strategy will be expanding our global footprint.

"​​In every single meeting now, you're hearing DEI as a part of the strategy and the focus. To me, that signals that we're really getting it and doing the work. Because I really believe that DEI shouldn't fall on one person — it's everyone's job."

What are some lessons you absorbed from your background in DEI as per how the Recording Academy can improve as a diverse and inclusive space?

For me, it's really understanding how to analyze data and make data-driven decisions, but not at the expense of the human experience. What I believe is transferable is: How do we make business decisions with our hearts, and with data at its core?

As we think about every single area of our organization, DEI is at the heart of it. One of my dreams, always, since my first day in the role here as DEI Officer, was to make sure that we were building DEI capabilities across every single person and across every single department of the business.

And we're getting there. I really feel like we're moving in that direction. I'm so proud every time I'm in a meeting with our membership department and [Vice President of Membership & Industry Relations] Kelley Purcell, or with our Chapters in all 12 markets — or, you name it, the communications team, the marketing team.

In every single meeting now, you're hearing DEI as a part of the strategy and the focus. To me, that signals that we're really getting it and doing the work. Because I really believe that DEI shouldn't fall on one person — it's everyone's job.

What specifically can the Recording Academy and the music industry at-large do to create true diversity, equity, and inclusion in this field?

I think it starts with the fact that I am a Black woman working in the American music industry — and I have been for more than 20 years. It's really getting down to the real details around what the experiences of women like me and like many of our members are in music.

A part of that's around physical and psychological safety, part of that is around opportunity and access, and all the things that we need to thrive as women working in music. The Women In The Mix Study, which I'm so excited about, will really anchor and focus us around the areas that we need to prioritize for women working in the American music industry.

How do we resource it? How do we become better advocates? And again, how do we become better partners internally and externally in service of our members.

This study is going to help us find solutions to the issues facing women in music. That's the whole purpose of this study, and it's all-encompassing. We're going to find solutions that ensure that women in music can flourish and create pathways to success for them.

With the addition of yourself and Panos as Co-Presidents, Harvey's role has become a triage. What do you enjoy about the creative energy between you three?

We are three parts coming together as this trifecta of different experiences, leadership styles and ideas we want to bring to the table.

I think it's so exciting because we're going to learn from each other, stretch each other, and hold each other accountable. I think the three of us are really leaning into this new model in a very collaborative way. We are talking all day every day, we're building strategies together all day, and, more importantly, we're moving them to action.

So, I think it was such a brilliant idea for Harvey to bring in fresh voices — people with new ideas and different perspectives — to expand and move us into the next chapter as an organization.

"It is the people's choice. We are putting the complete power and decision-making authority into our members' hands."

There have been a lot of changes surrounding the GRAMMY Awards voting process. What sparked these major shifts and what is the ultimate aim with them?

The beautiful thing about the Recording Academy is that we are a membership organization and the GRAMMY Award is a peer-voted award. The new changes that you've seen with our rules [reflect] the transparency that you've seen around our awards process.

The changes are a direct result of hearing from our members that they wanted to see a change. We are always listening and responding to the feedback from our members, and that's what you've seen through these awards changes.

We always follow the guidance and direction of our members, and that's what we've done here. I'm excited to be a part of an organization that puts its members and the creative community first. We respond when we hear the feedback.

Read More: ​​64th GRAMMY Awards: Everything You Need To Know About First Round GRAMMY Voting

These voting changes will be implemented for the 64th GRAMMY Awards in 2022. Why is it especially important to vote this year?

It is the people's choice. We are putting the complete power and decision-making authority into our members' hands.

The voter turnout is so, so, so important this year because we really want to make sure that every single person's voice is heard and reflected on what you see throughout our voting process — and then, what you eventually see on GRAMMY night. I'm really excited about this model of letting our members decide.

Internally and externally, where do you see the Recording Academy in five years?

What I hope to see is that, one, we build on the solid foundation that has already been established over the last 64 years. So often, I think change can be scary, but what I'll say is that I'm excited to embrace it in a way that builds on the solid foundation.

The second thing is to make sure that every single member is heard and seen in the Recording Academy. It means we make sure that our members are part of our process, that we are being transparent about our process, and that we're always listening and making decisions based on the feedback from our members. That's so important.

Last but not least, I really hope that we accelerate our mission. We are in service of music creators and that's why we're here. We love music. We're part of the music community, and to be even better allies and advocates is the goal.

You'll start to see some of that in the next year —and even five years — with the services we offer, the support that we provide to music creators, and, ultimately, the programs that you'll be hearing about soon.

Again, just being a better partner to the music community every day is top-of-mind. We'll be doing that soon through some of the work that you've seen unfolding.

The 64th GRAMMY Awards: Everything You Need To Know About The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show & Nominations

The Recording Academy And Music NFT Platform OneOf Announce Exclusive GRAMMY Awards Partnership
Photo of GRAMMY trophy

Photo: Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

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The Recording Academy And Music NFT Platform OneOf Announce Exclusive GRAMMY Awards Partnership

The Recording Academy and green NFT marketplace OneOf have teamed up for an exclusive partnership to release NFTs that will commemorate the 64th, 65th and 66th GRAMMY Awards

Recording Academy/Nov 1, 2021 - 05:00 pm

The Recording Academy and OneOf, the green NFT marketplace built for music and backed by 28-time GRAMMY Award winner Quincy Jones, have teamed up for an exclusive partnership to release NFTs that will commemorate the 64th, 65th and 66th GRAMMY Awards. Details on the NFT collections will be revealed in early January 2022 ahead of the 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show, officially known as the 64th GRAMMY Awards, taking place on Jan. 31. The NFTs will be released as collectibles and experiences celebrating the GRAMMY Awards, nominees and recipients, including tokens designed by world-famous crypto artists using the iconic GRAMMY Award itself. A portion of the proceeds of the NFTs will go to the Recording Academy's scholarship fund.  

OneOf is a NFT platform designed specifically for the music community to create an environmentally sustainable, artist-and-fan-friendly experience. Built on the Tezos blockchain protocol, minting a NFT on OneOf's platform uses 2 million times less energy than other proof-of-work networks, and for its artist and creator partners, minting NFTs costs $0 in blockchain transaction fees. Dedicated to charitable causes, OneOf offers artists using their platform the option to donate portions of their NFT proceeds to charities of their choice. OneOf also enables fans to pay with credit and debit cards as well as cryptocurrencies.

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? Here's everything you need to know about the 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show and nominations!

"In considering a NFT partner, we were committed to working with a like-minded organization that had an artist-first approach and we have undoubtedly found that in OneOf," Panos A. Panay, Co-President of the Recording Academy, said. "As an Academy, we are always looking for ways to help artists discover new forms of creative expression, while also creating new ways of income generation and ways for fans to interact with the artists that they love. OneOf shares that vision, and we are proud to work with a sustainable NFT company." 

"For 63 years, the GRAMMYs and the Recording Academy have been the premier representation, celebration and advocacy partner for the artists, songwriters and professionals who create the music we love," OneOf Co-Founders Lin Dai, Adam Fell and Joshua James said. "If used to their full potential, NFTs will empower the music industry in a way few other technologies ever have. It is our great honor to work with this prestigious organization to help shepherd this bright future to the industry."

"I've been advocating for artists my entire career, so any technology that serves to help musicians make a living is something I fully stand behind," Quincy Jones said. "It excites me to know that OneOf is working to bring more money into the ecosystem, and simultaneously, I've been with the GRAMMYs/the Recording Academy since its inception. So, it makes my soul smile to see OneOf partnering with this wonderful organization, and I look forward to seeing the good they will do for artists."
OneOf's NFT platform launched in August, and the debut artist collection featured a 26,000-token drop from past GRAMMY nominee Doja Cat. An auction for the one-of-a-kind item in her collection sold for $188,000, making it the single largest auction transaction on Tezos, the blockchain protocol on which OneOf is built. Additional OneOf drops include the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Festival, rapper the Game and DJ/producer and EDM superstar Alesso, who will be performing and releasing key pieces of his OneOf NFT collection at the Dreamverse NFT music and art festival in New York City on Thursday, Nov. 4. Artists including Whitney Houston, TLC, Jacob Collier, Quincy Jones, H.E.R., Charlie Puth, AURORA, G-Eazy, and others have also signed on to release NFTs on OneOf. 

NFTs In Music: Watch The Most Recent Pro>Sessions Installment To Learn About How You Can Use Your Art To Digitally Capitalize

The Recording Academy's Black Music Collective And Amazon Music Award $20,000 In Donations For Music Equipment To Two Historically Black Colleges And Universities Affected By Hurricane Ida

Graphic: The Recording Academy

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The Recording Academy's Black Music Collective And Amazon Music Award $20,000 In Donations For Music Equipment To Two Historically Black Colleges And Universities Affected By Hurricane Ida

Black Music Collective (BMC) and Amazon Music have awarded $10,000 donations each to Dillard University and Xavier University of Louisiana; the funds will be utilized to replace students' musical equipment that was damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Ida

Recording Academy/Oct 28, 2021 - 05:00 pm

The Recording Academy's Black Music Collective (BMC), in partnership with Amazon Music, have selected two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to each receive a $10,000 donation for musical equipment as part of the organizations' ongoing partnership to provide students at HBCUs the opportunity to learn all facets of the music industry. The donations — first announced with the BMC and Amazon partnership in February — have been awarded to Dillard University and Xavier University of Louisiana. The selected HBCUs were impacted by Hurricane Ida and will utilize the funds to replace students' musical equipment that was damaged or destroyed during the storm.

"Fostering opportunities for aspiring Black music professionals is one of the BMC and Recording Academy's most urgent priorities," Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Co-President of the Recording Academy, said. "Partnering with Amazon Music to award donations for music equipment to music programs on Historically Black College and University campuses affected by Hurricane Ida is the latest action in our commitment to invest in the next generation of Black music leaders. We're honored to offer these scholarships to Dillard University and Xavier University, both of Louisiana, and continue creating pathways for success."

"With this donation, Amazon Music and the Recording Academy are coming together to support the music departments at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which are vital to developing the next generation of Black musicians," Ryan Redington, Vice President of Amazon Music, said. "Hurricane Ida has made this school year even more challenging for universities across Louisiana, that's why it was so essential for us to step up to support Dillard University and Xavier University and help to replace musical equipment damaged by the storm."

The BMC and Amazon Music partnership has implemented several initiatives in support of aspiring Black music professionals studying at HBCUs. In June, the organizations announced Jawan Davidson (North Carolina Central University), Akeal Evans (Morehouse College) and Nyah Hardmon (Howard University) as recipients of the "Your Future Is Now" scholarship, totaling $10,000 each. The recipients were also offered the opportunity to participate in a two-week immersive rotation program with Amazon Music department leads, providing each student a detailed look at their particular fieldwork at Amazon Music.

The Recording Academy's Black Music Collective is a group of prominent Black music creators and professionals who share the common goal of amplifying Black voices within the Academy and the music community. Learn more about the Black Music Collective.

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