Image courtesy of the Recording Academy
5 Key Issues For District Advocate Day 2023: AI, Live Music, Free Expression & More
District Advocate Day 2023 is right around the corner, and with it, a crucial chance to fight for the rights of all music people. Here are five issues that will be in play.
For the Recording Academy's Advocacy family, the fight for music people's rights is year-round — but still, one day is paramount.
Welcome to District Advocate Day, whose 2023 iteration will roll around on Oct. 5. Held annually in the fall, this is the largest grassroots advocacy movement for music and its makers.
Therein, Recording Academy members visit the local district offices of their elected representatives in Congress to discuss issues affecting the livelihoods of songwriters, performers, and studio professionals.
Here are five key issues affecting the music industry that will be addressed at District Advocate Day 2023.
AI: Protecting Creators' Name, Image, Likeness, & Voice
Plus, in June, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer invited the Recording Academy to attend the announcement of his A.I. Framework to craft comprehensive legislation to better govern the use of the new technology across all industries — including arts and intellectual property.
This summer, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees have held hearings and roundtables
exploring the impact of AI on copyright and intellectual property, with a potential goal to craft targeted legislation.
At the same time we embrace the positive potential of AI, we must also be mindful of the risks and ensure that human creativity is always at the center of music.
Creative works shape our identity, values, and worldview. People relate most deeply to works that embody the lived experience, perceptions, and attitudes of others. Art cannot exist independent of human culture.
While existing copyright law already has the ability to protect the work of artists and
songwriters, there's very little protection for artists who see their own name, likeness, and voice used to create, market, promote and distribute AI-generated music. Human creators are the foundation of the creative industries and we must ensure that human creators are paid for their work.
That's why, as Al technology rapidly evolves, the Recording Academy is working with Congress to establish a federal right of publicity that protects a human creator from the unlawful use of their identity — including their voice — to make, market, and distribute Al-generated content.
A bipartisan effort in the Senate is leading the way to bring this important new safeguard into law — and the Academy asks Members of Congress to support a federal right of publicity bill.
Protecting Free Expression
The Restoring Artistic Protection Act protects the First Amendment rights of creators nationwide by limiting the use of an artist's lyrics as evidence in criminal proceedings.
The bill affirms that every artist, no matter the musical genre, should be able to freely express themselves. The bill protects the First Amendment rights of artists nationwide by limiting the use of an artist's lyrics as evidence in federal court proceedings.
While this prosecutorial practice is common in the hip hop genre, this is an issue that impacts creators from all genres and all artistic disciplines.
Thanks to the Recording Academy's advocacy, Similar legislation has become law in multiple states with strong bipartisan support. On Capitol Hill, the bill was reintroduced in Congress during GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day on April 27, 2023 — and the Recording Academy asks for Members of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 2952.
Fix The Tix: Protecting The Live Music Experience For Artists & Fans
The relationship that forms when an artist connects to a fan through live music is at the core of what makes music special. Artists try to keep their tickets affordable for their fans, but unscrupulous scalpers move in and drive up the price and make it harder for fans to buy tickets to see their favorite artist perform live.
Congress needs to address the many predatory practices that drive-up ticket prices and deceive consumers by regulating and restricting bulk resellers and bots and providing real transparency.
Legislation like the TICKET Act (H.R. 3950) is an important first step to promote price transparency, but comprehensive reform is needed to protect artists, fans and small businesses who bear the most harm from the deceptive trade practices common in the live event ticket industry. Stakeholders in the secondary market want to restrict the ability of artists to tour and sell tickets the way that they want.
It's time for Congress to listen to the artists on the stage and pass meaningful, bipartisan
ticketing reforms that protects consumers, elevates creative economic development, and restores trust in the ticketing experience. Artists want to protect their fans from bulk resellers, bots, and predatory practices, while putting new safeguards in place to restrict sales of fake tickets, limit price gouging, and address other deceptive practices.
The Recording Academy supports the passage of the TICKET Act, as well as additional pro-artist and pro-consumer reforms.
Incentivizing New Music Through Tax Fairness
Reintroduced into Congress on Feb. 28, 2023, The HITS (Help Independent Tracks Succeed) Act is a bipartisan and bicameral solution that would provide independent creators with tax incentives to help boost the production of new music.
The bill, which the Recording Academy helped craft, would modify current U.S. tax law to allow independent artists and songwriters to deduct 100% of their production costs on new recordings or songwriting demos upfront.
Plus, it would align the tax code with similar provisions that exist for television, film and live theatrical productions.
The goal of the HITS Act is to incentivize the creation of new music by lessening the financial burden and risk of creating it. The HITS Act will aid independent artists, songwriters, and producers in creating new music that we can celebrate and enjoy.
The reintroduction of the HITS Act demonstrates the support various members of Congress have for the music community and their understanding of the importance of reviving the music ecosystem.
As such, the Recording Academy backs the co-sponsorship of H.R. 1959.
Providing A Solution For Artists' Rights On Radio
The American Music Fairness Act is a bipartisan and bicameral bill that establishes a
performance right for sound recordings broadcast on AM/FM radio in the United States
to ensure that performers receive compensation for their work.
The bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee in 2022 and contains important protections for small and non-profit radio broadcasters.
The bill ends a decades-long loophole that has enabled AM/FM radio broadcasters to use the music of hard-working performers and producers without compensating them for their work.
Under the bill, artists, performers, producers, and other music makers involved in the creation of a sound recording would be entitled to fair market rate for their music played on radio stations across the U.S. — just like they currently receive on other music platforms like streaming services, satellite radio and internet radio.
AMFA also contains important protections for small and non-profit broadcasters to ensure that local and community-supported radio stations can continue to be diverse and thrive.
It also empowers creators to have control over their own intellectual property is a fundamental and constitutionally protected right in America.
Big radio corporations have earned billions in advertising revenues by exploiting music and its creators, while the creators themselves have lost out on millions of dollars of potential royalties.
Following District Advocate in 2022, the House Judiciary Committee favorably voted the American Music Fairness Act out of committee for the first time. The Recording Academy believes that co-sponsorship of H.R. 791 is a must.
Granted, District Advocacy Day is a unique part of being a member of the Recording Academy. But if you're not a member, never fear — there are other ways to get involved and help advocate for creators' rights.
The Recording Academy invites you to engage in one of our numerous Call to Actions here — and it's our hope we'll see you at District Advocate Day 2024! With all this in mind, let's make District Advocate Day 2023 a success for all music people!
Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
How District Advocate Day 2023 Uplifted Music People And Expanded With Its First Ever GRAMMY Advocacy Conference
The first-ever GRAMMY Advocacy Conference — just in time for District Advocate Day 2023 — was an effective and inspiring digest of the most pressing issues facing the music community.
Year round, the Recording Academy works tirelessly to advocate for all music people — but one day is especially important. That's District Advocate Day, whose 2023 iteration rolled around on Oct. 5. Held annually in the fall, this is the largest grassroots advocacy movement for music and its makers.
As with every year, Recording Academy members from across the country visited the local district offices of their elected representatives in Congress to discuss issues affecting the livelihoods of songwriters, performers, and studio professionals.
The key issues for District Advocate Day 2023 were AI (artificial intelligence), protecting free expression, protecting the live music experience for artists and fans, incentivizing new music via tax fairness, and providing a solution for artists' rights on radio.
These were front of mind across nearly 100 meetings throughout the U.S. — from Long Beach, California to Coral Springs, Florida; from Omaha to San Antonio; from Philadelphia to Tupelo. And that just scratches the surface of how the Academy sprung into action nationwide for all music people.
At the Recording Academy's New York Chapter Office in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, District Advocate Day kicked off much as it did in 2022. Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, swung by said office to meet up with the New York Chapter.
In the boardroom, Academy members — in a mix of formal and casual getup — got down to brass tacks, and made heartfelt expressions before Nadler.
The discussion of free expression was framed by the Academy-endorsed Restoring Artistic Protection (RAP) Act. As for ticketing, bots were evoked as a major concern.
And regarding AI, guarding name, image, likeness, and intellectual property was of paramount concern. Nadler was receptive to these concerns from the New York Chapter, and offered co-signage to Academy-sponsored bills.
After an all-smiles group photo session in front of the New York Chapter Office — which sported some nifty new Academy-logoed flags — a group reconvened in the boardroom to watch the first-ever GRAMMY Advocacy Conference. This was just one of many such gatherings across the country. As uncertainty in Washington prevented many congressional offices from scheduling meetings, the virtual conference provided another opportunity for Academy members to connect with each other and engage with the issues no matter where they live.
Across the following hour, viewers heard directly from policymakers, industry stakeholders and fellow Academy members about the organization's crucial work in Washington.
The video included a conversation about AI between Todd Dupler, the Chief Advocacy & Public Policy Officer at the Recording Academy, and Mitch Glazier, the CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America.
After a message from U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) about the need to overhaul the current ticketing system, Shay M. Lawson, Governor of the Atlanta Chapter of the Recording Academy, introduced U.S. Representative Sydney Kamlager-Dove (Calif.-37) and Torae, the President of the New York Chapter of the Recording Academy.
The three had a frank discussion about the need to safeguard free expression through the Restoring Artistic Protection Act, and Rep. Kamlager-Dove's historic resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
On screen, what followed was a conversation between Dupler and Nicole Elkon, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of State. This interchange had to do with music diplomacy, a crucial tool in the department's arsenal, and came fresh off the State Department's launch of the Global Music Diplomacy Initiative that the Recording Academy played an instrumental role in developing.
The final major portion of GRAMMY Advocacy Conference 2023 reflected the Academy's hardworking Songwriters & Composers Wing. The Wing's very own Sr. Managing Director, Susan Stewart, led a conversation with singer-songwriter Alex Hall, and Evan Bogart, the Chair of the S&C Wing.
After a pragmatic and necessary talk about the importance of fair compensation in the streaming age — and navigating the labyrinth of an increasingly complex music landscape — it was clear to all involved that we do this because we love the music, first and foremost. And with that, members of the New York Chapter filed out into the autumn air, ready to put that shared love into action.
Image courtesy of the Recording Academy
District Advocate Day Is Back On Oct. 5: How The Annual Advocacy Day Will Benefit Music People Worldwide
Year over year, District Advocate Day has directly led to positive change for the music community. Here’s how to get involved on Oct. 5.
The Recording Academy's District Advocate Day is returning on Thursday, October 5th.
District Advocate Day, the largest grassroots advocacy movement for music and its makers, gives Recording Academy members an opportunity to visit the local district offices of their elected members of Congress and discuss the pressing issues facing the music community.
Last year, almost 2,000 Recording Academy members participated in District Advocate Day — making it one of the largest District Advocate Days to date. Over the course of the activation, Academy members reached 75 percent of Congress by meeting with nearly 200 congressional offices across 45 states.
Year over year, District Advocate Day has directly led to positive change for the music community. In 2022, Recording Academy members advocated for the passage of the PEACE Through Music Diplomacy Act, a bill designed to use music and music-related global exchange programs as a tool to build cross-cultural understanding and advance peace abroad. Just two months later, Congress passed the PEACE Through Music Diplomacy Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2023.
In 2020, Recording Academy members successfully urged Congress to provide billions in COVID relief for music makers and music small businesses when they needed it the most. And in 2019, the House of Representatives passed the CASE (Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement) Act just weeks after we advocated for it during District Advocate.
This bill, which passed the House of Representatives 410-6 before getting signed into law, created a small claims court for copyright cases — a huge win for artists who otherwise did not have the means to protect their work from infringement or theft.
This October, Recording Academy members will continue these efforts as they advocate for key issues facing the music community such as artificial intelligence and decriminalizing artistic expression.
Registration is open now until September 8th for all active members of the Recording Academy including Voting, Professional, and Student members. Members interested in and registering, or to learn more, can click here.
Even if you are not a member of the Recording Academy, you can still fight for creator’s rights by contacting lawmakers in support of music makers. We also encourage you to continue checking out our Advocacy page for additional ways to stay involved!
Photo: Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images for the Recording Academy
Looking Back On 2022: One Of The Recording Academy’s Most Successful Years In Advocacy
From the PEACE Through Music Diplomacy’s passage into law to the return of District Advocate Day, 2022 was a banner year for Recording Academy Advocacy.
Now that the first week of 2023 has come to a close and preparations are made for the work ahead in the 118th Congress, Recording Academy Advocacy would like to take a moment to look back on the many Academy victories our members helped accomplish for the music community in 2022.
This way, the team aims to celebrate one of the Recording Academy's most successful and impactful years in advocacy.
The PEACE Through Music Diplomacy Act Was Passed Into Law
This victory for music people occurred on Dec. 23 as part of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Its passage will use music and music-related global exchange programs as a tool to build cross-cultural understanding and advance peace abroad.
The Fight for Performance Rights Reached Historic Milestones in the House and Senate
The House Judiciary Committee passed the American Music Fairness Act (H.R. 4130) out of committee on Dec. 7. The favorable voice vote — with no recorded votes against the bill — marks the most significant action by Congress on performance rights in the last 12 years.
On Feb. 2, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the American Music Fairness Act, allowing lawmakers to hear directly from music creators — including Memphis Chapter Governor Boo Mitchell — on the importance of receiving compensation when their work is played on AM/FM radio.
On May 12, Sens. Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the American Music Fairness Act in the Senate.
This introduction exhibits the bipartisan and bicameral support for establishing a terrestrial performance right for sound recordings and ensuring that all creators are compensated for their work when played on AM/FM radio.
Rep. Mark Green with Gramps Morgan. Photo: Terry Wyatt / Getty Images for the Recording Academy
New Legislation Was Introduced to Protect Freedom of Expression
Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) introduced the Restoring Artistic Protection (RAP) Act into the House of Representatives on July 27.
The RAP Act, which is the first of its kind on a federal level, intends to protect a creator’s right to free expression by limiting the use of song lyrics and other creative works as evidence in federal court.
Its introduction marked the beginning of an important fight to protect artists' freedom of expression in all genres.
Advocacy Wins in States Across the Country
On September 30, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 2977, the Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act, into law, marking the first of its kind to be enacted on a state level. The Recording Academy spent much of 2022 working with California State Assembly and Senate members to ensure its passage and protect artists from having their creative expression used against them in a trial.
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) at District Advocate Day. Photo courtesy of the Recording Academy.
In November, Prop. 28 was on the ballot in California. This measure, which passed with over 60% of the vote, will allocate nearly $1 billion in funding to arts and music education programs in public schools throughout California. The Recording Academy, through both the Los Angeles and San Francisco Chapters, helped secure signatures to ensure Proposition 28 got on the ballot.
Allen Toussaint. Photo courtesy of the Recording Academy.
After years of effort from the Recording Academy, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the Allen Toussaint Legacy Act into law on June 15. Named after the late Louisiana music legend Allen Toussaint, the law protects a person’s “right of publicity” to prevent their image and likeness from being exploited for commercial purposes.
The Recording Academy worked successfully in Georgia throughout the year with key stakeholders like Georgia Music Partners to form the inaugural Joint Georgia Music Heritage Study Committee, a bipartisan committee of state legislators tasked with identifying policy recommendations to strengthen the state’s music ecosystem.
The Recording Academy also worked to pass the Truth in Music Advertising Act and the True Origin of Goods Act, which was signed into law in May.
The CASE Act Took Effect
On June 16, the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) officially began accepting copyright cases following the implementation of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act, which was signed into law in 2020 after years of lobbying by the Recording Academy and its members.
This marked a huge victory for independent creators and artists who will be empowered to protect their work.
Second Largest District Advocate Day Yielded Results
Nearly 2,000 Recording Academy members came together for the Recording Academy’s first District Advocate Day in three years. Through nearly 200 meetings, Academy members reached 75% of Congress and covered 45 states (including the District of Columbia) advocating for pro-music legislation including the HITS Act, PEACE Through Music Diplomacy Act, American Music Fairness Act, and the RAP Act.
GRAMMYs On The Hill Returned After Three Years
After three years off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GRAMMYs on the Hill returned for its 20th anniversary honoring Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), and 5-time GRAMMY winners Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The day after the Awards dinner, GRAMMY winners and nominees took to Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress to advocate for pro-music legislation.
The Recording Academy looks forward to continuing this work throughout 2023 — and continuing the fight for all music people worldwide.