(L-R): Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), Gramps Morgan

Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


How District Advocate Day 2022 Aided Music People Nationwide, From Fair Pay For Radio Play To Protection Of Artistic Expressions

Nearly 200 nationwide meetings with lawmakers occurred around the country — both in person and via Zoom, with Democrats and Republicans, and totally focused on the well-being of music people via common-sense, Recording Academy-sponsored bills.

Advocacy/Oct 11, 2022 - 11:01 pm

Working as a music journalist, the most immediately thrilling part is watching your record collection come to life over the phone and Zoom. Coming in close second and third would be the rapport with behind-the-scenes music people from all over the planet, and being able to behold live music not as a ticket-holder, but as a reporter — as a participant, however minor.

Hanging out on Zoom with elected representatives, while Recording Academy members encourage them to vote on bills that support music makers, may not be a normal part of the job description. But as far as the impact it has? It may have more real-world consequences than all those other aspects combined.

That's why having a catbird seat to District Advocate Day 2022, which occurred on Thursday, Oct. 6, wasn't just business as usual — it was downright goosebump-inducing. 

For those unaware, the Recording Academy's District Advocate program is the largest grassroots advocacy movement for music and its makers. Held annually in the fall, Recording Academy members visit their local district offices and virtually their elected representatives to discuss issues affecting their livelihoods and careers, including fairer compensation for songwriters, performers and studio professionals. 

Specifically, Recording Academy members and lawmakers homed in on four bills during District Advocate Day.

The first was the bipartisan Help Independent Tracks Succeed (HITS) Act, which amends the tax code so independent artists can fully deduct the cost of new recordings on their taxes immediately, up to $150,000. The HITS Act gives music production the same tax treatment as film, television and theatrical production and will provide a stimulus to put indie artists, musicians and studio professionals back in the studio to create new music.

The second was the PEACE Through Music Diplomacy Act, which will put a spotlight on music as a tool for promoting peace and cooperation around the world. The bill directs the State Department to leverage partnerships with the private sector when designing and implementing its music-related exchange programs and specifically authorizes music-related exchange programs that advance peace.

The third was the American Music Fairness Act, which would fix a loophole in copyright law that allows broadcast radio to use music without paying anything to the artists who created it. As Congress considers the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA)  — a bill to help broadcasters negotiate compensation when big tech platforms use their news content — it must pass the American Music Fairness Act so artists will finally be paid when AM/FM radio broadcasters use their music.

And the fourth was the Restoring Artistic Protection (RAP) Act. Every artist, no matter the musical genre, should be able to express themselves without fear of reprisal from the justice system based on the content of their art or bias against their chosen art form. The RAP Act will protect every creator's right to free expression by limiting the use of lyrics and other creative works as evidence in federal court.

Being an advocate means staying active in the weeks leading up to the meetings to help advance key priorities through social media and calls-to-action on specific legislative issues. And this paid off in a legion of virtual and in-person meetings across the country with an aisle-transcending array of representatives — and from this journalist's perspective on the East Coast, the home base was the Recording Academy's new Manhattan home.

On the morning of Oct. 6, Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) swung by said office to meet up with the New York Chapter — including Lachi, an EDM singer-songwriter, New York Chapter Governor and DEI Ambassador, and Noshir Mody, an Indian-born composer, guitarist and producer who resides in the Midtown West neighborhood. Both were on the mic alongside Congressman Nadler.

Mody kicked off the proceedings by asking Nadler why he took it upon himself to fight for music people — and Nadler, a lovably phlegmatic personality and brilliant legal mind, answered simply.

"I've always considered it obvious. Creators create," Nadler stated. "We wouldn't have music; we wouldn't have the entire music industry without them. There are all kinds of jobs dependent on them. A lot of people make their living in the music industry, and the performance of it is the base of that. 

"In addition to which, of course, people want music," he added. "It's an essential."

Lachi then took the floor, turning the conversation toward the HITS Act with commentary from members in the room. These included Ellyn Harris, a singer-songwriter who owns a music and PR consulting company. Speaking to Congressman Nadler, Harris highlighted how music is crucial not only for entertainment, but for the betterment of those with mental illnesses, such as dementia.

"[Music is] medically proven to help people with issues [like] dementia," Harris said. "There are people who haven't spoken forever, and they suddenly come out and talk. That doesn't happen with TV, film or theater, specifically, because it's the sound that makes them feel something."

She went on to note how artists often need to spend thousands in order to write off their work — and it was crucial, and only fair, to give artists relief in that regard. Her point was bolstered by commentary from musician Tyrone Smith, who laid out how those who might pay lip service to the music community must walk the walk.

"If we're going to sell the story that entertainment and music support everything else within this country, you can't make me believe that you don't have the same tactics available to us to help relieve the stress of doing business," Smith stated. "It's just that simple for me, and I hope it's just that simple for everybody else."

Another member in the hard rock and metal community, Militia, expressed to Nadler the financial barriers to even recording an album on a tight budget. "Most of the time, we don't speak up at things like this because we feel like no one cares about rock and metal anymore," she said. "But, actually, rock and metal are the fastest-growing genres in the world. I'm a proud, independent alternative metal artist.

But despite the global expansion of the alternative, rock and metal genres, simply making her art has put Vox in financial peril.

"My last full length album cost me around $2,000 a track, which is not a lot. It was on a super tight budget," she said. "But you multiply that by nine or 10 tracks, and it adds up. Then I'm still trying to recoup that because it was all out of pocket. I'm a pro artist. I don't have a day job or side hustle, so everything I make goes back into my music."

Nadler was listening carefully, and replied thoughtfully. "If the capital cost is $100 to $120,000," he said, "how does a new company get into it?"

Mody then moved on to the American Music Fairness Act, which is intended to close a decades-long loophole that prevents music creators and music makers from being compensated when their material is played on AM/FM radio. "This is a descendant of my Fair Play, Fair Pay Act," Nadler noted. "I obviously support it."

Ditto for the RAP Act: "Some lawyers and courts are using rap music as evidence in a crime," Nadler said. "That should not be." Eileen Sherman, a lyricist, producer and young adult novelist, noted the significance of this act in light of increased scrutiny (some might call it overreach) regarding what reading material children are or aren't exposed to in schools.

"This is a very slippery slope, as we all know," Sherman said. "I don't even think I need to enumerate really where this could lead in all… I thought we were really beyond this. So I think this is a critical, critical bill."

Nadler also expressed support for the PEACE Through Music Diplomacy Act: "I thought that part of our policy, going way back to the Cold War, was to do that through the Voice of America and other ways." And as the meeting wound down, Nadler cited his preferred styles of music: American folk, like Phil Ochs and Judy Collins, as well as Hebrew liturgical music.

The meeting with Nadler proved to be a constructive and upbuilding one — but of course, District Advocate Day 2022 wasn't limited to an hour and change in New York City. From there, almost 200 meetings with nearly 200 lawmakers occurred around the country — over Zoom and in person, with Democrats and Republicans, and always with utmost class, respect, and focus on the well-being of music people.

Said lawmakers included Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Mark Green (R-Tenn.), and Michael McCaul (R-Texas), among many others.

And when lawmakers responded positively to the Academy-sponsored bills, it was with a minimum of big talk or fanfare — but a staggering amount of forward momentum as a result.

All in all, District Advocate Day was a rousing success, despite distances and an ocean of coordination — and pointed to a bright 2022 and an even brighter 2023 in the fight for music people's rights on Capitol Hill.

California Becomes First State To Protect Artists From Having Their Creative Works Used Against Them: What The Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act Means For All Music People

Taylor Hanson with Brothers Osborne at GRAMMY Advocacy Brunch in 2024
Taylor Hanson with Brothers Osborne at GRAMMY Advocacy Brunch in 2024

Photo courtesy of the Recording Academy


How Newly Elected Recording Academy Trustees Are Involved In Advocacy: Dani Deahl, Taylor Hanson & More

Newly elected Recording Academy Trustees Dani Deahl, Taylor Hanson, Torae Carr, and Sara Gazerak have a history of advocacy for music people. Get to know them below.

Advocacy/Jun 5, 2024 - 09:25 pm

The Recording Academy's Board of Trustees has a history of being filled with members that are both passionate about making music and advocating for music creators. The newly elected slate of trustees is no exception and four of the new members continuously show their dedication to advocacy.

Those Trustees are Dani Deahl, Taylor Hanson, Torae Carr, and Sara Gazerak. They're four of a total of 19 leaders of diverse backgrounds and disciplines who have assumed their position on the 2024-2025 Board of Trustees.

Effective June 1, the newly elected Trustees joined the Academy's midterm Trustees, including National Officers Tammy Hurt (Chair), Dr. Chelsey Green (Vice Chair), Gebre Waddell (Secretary/Treasurer), and Christine Albert (Chair Emeritus).

Their mission is to uphold the Academy's core values: to serve and represent the music community at-large through its commitment to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, fight for creators' rights, protect music people in need, preserve music's history, and invest in its future.

About that fight for creator's rights, specifically: read on for these four Trustees' advocacy bona fides.

Dani Deahl

This prominent artist, DJ and producer previously served as the Recording Academy's Chicago Chapter Governor. She's also been a prolific advocate for music makers and the greater music industry. 

In March, Deahl testified in front of the Illinois House and Senate on HB 4875/SB 3325 alongside fellow Chicago Chapter member Jeff Becker. HB 4875/SB 3325 represents a crucial step towards modernizing Illinois's Right of Publicity Act for the AI era.

By granting additional enforcement rights and remedies, the bill was created to shield musicians from exploitation by generative AI systems. While existing copyright laws offer some protection, the amendments directly address gaps in safeguarding an artist's name, image, likeness, and voice.

Shortly after the Academy and Deahl's advocacy efforts in Springfield, HB 4875/SB 3325 passed through both the Illinois House and Senate and is with Governor J.B. Pritzker waiting to be signed into law.

On Friday, May 3, Deahl participated in the Recording Academy's Inaugural GRAMMYs on the Hill Future Forum. Designed to provide a space to explore the most pressing issues facing music, this momentous occasion served as a pivotal platform to delve into the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the music community. The afternoon consisted of a series of panel discussions curated to explore both the promise and the peril that AI presents to music makers.

Deahl joined GRAMMY nominated producer, emcee, vocalist, and thought leader, Kokayi, and Recording Academy's Chief Advocacy & Public Policy Officer, Todd Dupler, for the first panel of the afternoon. 

Throughout the discussion, Deahl demonstrated live how she ethically uses AI as a tool to enhance her music, including stem separation, voice or tone replacement, and song generation. Dani also attended and participated in the 2024 GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards and Advocacy Day.

Taylor Hanson

You know that surname: he's a former Texas Chapter President, three-time GRAMMY nominated artist and member of the band Hanson.

Last August, Recording Academy members of the Texas Chapter, including Taylor Hanson, headed to Oklahoma City to meet with state government officials to build up the relationship between the Oklahoma music community and state leaders.

Throughout the day, the group met with Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell and the Deputy Director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, Jeanette Stanton, at the state's Capitol before heading to the Governor's Mansion.

During the meeting, they discussed the importance of the music community in Oklahoma, ways the state can continue to be involved in supporting the music community, and how the Recording Academy can be a resource for ensuring artists' voices are heard.

At the Governor's Mansion, Hanson participated in a panel with other Texas Chapter members on the Recording Academy and how Oklahoma Academy members and music creators can get involved. Specifically, the group highlighted the Recording Academy's District Advocate Day, which Hanson has been a vocal supporter of.

Taylor Hanson has participated in numerous District Advocate meetings, attended the 2024 GRAMMY Advocacy Brunch, and has also used his social platform to spread awareness about the Recording Academy's grassroots advocacy movements.

Torae Carr

On May 7, 2024, this rapper and former New York Chapter President joined other members of the Recording Academy's New York chapter and took to the state capitol in Albany. The purpose was to advocate for the passage of A 127, a crucial piece of legislation designed to safeguard the creative works of artists across New York.

Throughout the day, the group met with key members of the Assembly to express their support for the bill and highlight the crucial need to protect artistic freedom during legal proceedings.

At the time of the advocacy day, A 127 had already passed through the senate. Since then, it has been voted through the Assembly Codes Committee with the goal to be voted on in the Assembly in the coming days. 

Sara Gazerack

Gazerack isn't just a GRAMMY-winning jazz vocalist: she serves as one of the Los Angeles Chapter's Advocacy Representatives and most recently was a Los Angeles Chapter Governor.

This spring, Sarah joined some 60 GRAMMY winners, nominees, and Recording Academy executives in DC for GRAMMYs on the Hill. Sara met with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), and policy staff of Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA).

The Advocacy Day consisted of meetings with Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill and a visit to the White House for a roundtable discussion on  AI policy, ticket reforms, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the president's work on gun violence, before a special conversation with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The Recording Academy commends these Trustees for their commitment to advocacy for music people — and to follow their future work in this regard, keep checking for up-to-date info!

Illinois Passes AI Digital Replica Protections Law: What To Know About HB 4875

Jeff Becker, Senator Mary Edly-Allen and Dani Deahl
Jeff Becker, Senator Mary Edly-Allen and Dani Deahl

Photo courtesy of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus


Illinois Passes AI Digital Replica Protections Law: What To Know About HB 4875

On Friday, May 24, the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 4875, sending the bill to the Governor's desk to become law. Here's what that means for artistic protections for artists and individuals.

Advocacy/May 29, 2024 - 08:41 pm

The Illinois General Assembly is fighting the good fight to protect artists and individuals from unauthorized AI digital replicas.

On Friday, May 24, the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 4875, sending the bill to the Governor's desk to become law. HB 4875, which unanimously cleared the state senate earlier in May, modernizes Illinois's existing Right of Publicity law to specifically address the challenges artists face from AI-generated creations and digital replicas.

Since the legislation's introduction by Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Senator Mary Edly-Allen the Recording Academy has been an advocate for the bill and how it establishes key safeguards and enforcement mechanisms to ensure an individual's identity is not misappropriated by generative AI. 

In April, members from the Recording Academy's Chicago Chapter went to the state capitol in Springfield for a state advocacy day in support of the bill. Immediately following that day of action, the bill cleared the House of Representatives for the first time and was sent to the Senate for further action. 

And earlier this year, in March, Recording Academy Chicago Chapter Board Members Jeff Becker and Dani Deahl testified in support of the legislation during hearings in the House and Senate. Their testimonies laid the foundation to pass the bill, bringing needed attention and support from state lawmakers. 

"As we embrace AI's potential, we must also be prepared for the risks it presents that are already here. The clearest example of these risks is the ability of AI to steal people's images and voices," Deahl testified. "I myself have had the unsettling experience of hearing my voice replicated by AI, delivering messages I never endorsed. This violation of identity is a profound invasion of personal autonomy."

Once signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois will become the second state in the nation to proactively protect creators from having their likeness replicated without permission by generative AI. In March, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed the ELVIS Act into law to become the first state. The Recording Academy worked closely with the Governor, Tennessee legislators, and other stakeholders in the passage of the groundbreaking law.

The Recording Academy is also prioritizing federal protections to confront this growing threat to human creativity. During this year's GRAMMYs on the Hill, GRAMMY winners and nominees came to Washington, D.C. to urge Members of Congress to support the House's No AI FRAUD Act and the Senate's NO FAKES Act. Both bills would establish similar protections to Illinois's HB 4875. 

For more information on how the Recording Academy continues to fight for artists' rights, keep checking our Advocacy page at

The House Of Representatives Has Passed The TICKET Act: Here's What You Need To Know

Lauren Daigle and Tammy Hurt in a GOTH meeting with Congressman Moran

Photo: Leigh Vogel


The House Of Representatives Has Passed The TICKET Act: Here's What You Need To Know

This legislative success for music fans comes just two short weeks after the Recording Academy's GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day, and passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote.

Advocacy/May 17, 2024 - 09:32 pm

In an exciting step forward for the music community, the House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 3950, the Transparency In Charges for Key Events Ticketing (TICKET) Act, by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 388-24. This legislative success comes just two short weeks after the Recording Academy's GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day.

During the GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day, over sixty GRAMMY winners, nominees, and Recording Academy executives met with members of Congress to push for ticketing reform, including the House's TICKET Act and the Senate's Fans First Act. Throughout the day, the artist advocates told lawmakers how the broken ticket marketplace impacts their daily lives. Among the group was 2-time GRAMMY winner, Lauren Daigle, who detailed her experiences with bots and resellers driving up ticket prices, emphasizing the impact it has on the individuals hoping to purchase tickets to her shows. These conversations highlighted the importance of protecting the human connection that live music fosters between artists and fans and the clear need for ticket reforms to be passed by congress.

The House-passed TICKET Act brings transparency to the ticketing marketplace by implementing all-in pricing and takes major steps toward ending the harmful practices of speculative ticketing and deceptive websites. The bill, which also guarantees refunds for event cancellations, denotes serious progress in the fight to improve the ticketing marketplace.

The Recording Academy urges the Senate to seize this moment and pass S. 3457, the Fans First Act. The Fans First Act builds upon the House TICKET Act by strengthening its provisions against speculative ticketing and deceptive websites and improving price transparency by not only requiring all-in pricing, but mandating upfront itemization so fans know what they're paying for from the start. The Fans First Act also increases consumer protection by strengthening the BOTS Act and the FTC's ability to enforce any violations.

Upon its passage, Recording Academy CEO, Harvey Mason Jr. expressed gratitude for the bipartisan support and the swift movement of the TICKET Act through the House.

"Today's passage of the TICKET Act by the House of Representatives marks a significant step forward toward improving the concert ticket marketplace. The TICKET Act was a key focus of GRAMMYs on the Hill two weeks ago, and the Recording Academy thanks our Congressional leaders for bringing the bill to a vote shortly after meeting with Academy members.

We now urge the Senate to act quickly to incorporate the strong provisions contained in the Fans First Act and move a comprehensive ticket reform package that will provide transparency and protect artists and their fans. 

The passage of the TICKET Act represents a critical step toward dismantling the predatory practices that undermine this connection. It is a crucial step toward ensuring a more equitable and sustainable marketplace. The legislation not only benefits consumers but also safeguards the livelihoods of artists who depend on fair ticket sales. Its passage proves the power of advocacy and the importance of legislative action in preserving the special bond between artists and their audiences.

As we look forward to the Senate's taking further action on ticketing reform, the Recording Academy will continue to fight for a fairer, more equitable ticketing marketplace that ensures the connection between music makers and fans remains strong and untainted.   

Inside The New York Chapter's Advocacy For The Passage Of A. 127 — How It'd Help Protect Artistic Freedom


Photo: Lauren Loverde


Inside The New York Chapter’s Advocacy For The Passage Of A. 127 — How It’d Help Protect Artistic Freedom

At the heart of A.127 is the protection of artistic freedom during legal proceedings. The bill, which has already passed in the Senate, seeks to create standards for when an artist's creative work may be used in criminal trials.

Advocacy/May 15, 2024 - 03:30 pm

On Tuesday, May 7, members of the Recording Academy’s New York chapter took to the state capitol in Albany. Their mission? To advocate for the passage of A.127, a crucial piece of legislation designed to safeguard the creative works of artists across New York.

At the heart of A.127 is the protection of artistic freedom during legal proceedings. The bill, which has already passed in the Senate, seeks to create standards for when an artist's creative work may be used in criminal trials. If enacted into law, this measure would be a significant step towards ensuring that creators can express themselves freely without fear of their work being weaponized against them.

During the Albany Advocacy Day, Recording Academy advocates held meetings with the Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, Codes Chairman, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Assembly sponsor, Catalina Cruz, along with key members of the Assembly Codes Committee including, Gary Pretlow, Andrew Hevesi, Linda B. Rosenthal, John Zaccaro, Jr., Kenneth Zebrowski. In addition to these meetings, Recording Academy members met with Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, the powerful Assembly Black, Hispanic, and Puerto Rican Caucus, and the Assembly Codes Staff. Many key Senators stopped by meetings to reiterate their support for the legislation, including Senate sponsor and Codes Chair, Jamaal Bailey.

Advocates included New York Chapter President Torae Carr, iconic rap artist and producer Papoose, producer and composer Ray Angry, and CEO of 300 Entertainment Kevin Liles. Additionally, Granville Mullins, GRAMMY Nominated Songwriter/Musician, Nathaniel Reichman, GRAMMY Nominated Producer/Mixer, Cassandra Kubinski, Singer/Songwriter, William Derella, Artist Manager and Lynn Gonzalez, Partner, Granderson Des Rochers, LLP were in attendance.

While leaving Albany, Papoose shared an impassioned plea to his followers on Instagram to support the effort.

Just one week later, on May 14, the Assembly Codes Committee advanced the bill out of committee to the Rules Committee, Chaired by the Speaker, priming it for full consideration by the Assembly in the coming weeks.

One of the key issues Academy advocates highlighted in their meetings regarding A.127 is the disproportionate impact that the current practices have on certain communities, particularly Black and Brown artists, who often find their work unfairly scrutinized and misinterpreted in legal settings. While the legislation is not genre-specific, it acknowledges the historical targeting of hip hop and rap artists and seeks to rectify this by requiring prosecutors to show the relevance and admissibility of creative works in court.

The significance of A.127 cannot be overstated, particularly in a state as culturally rich and economically influential as New York. The music industry is a large part of the state's economy, providing over 200,000 jobs and contributing close to $20 billion to its GDP. With a vibrant community of 129,000 songwriters, New York needs to enact this critical legislation that will protect the state's music community.

The Recording Academy’s continued advocacy for A.127 only further highlights the Academy’s dedication to protecting the rights of music creators and upholding the fundamental principles of free expression. As the bill moves forward, it is essential for lawmakers to recognize the importance of protecting creative freedom and ensure that New York remains a beacon of artistic expression.

Inside The Inaugural GRAMMYs On The Hill Future Forum, Exploring The Impact Of AI On The Music Community