How It Really Works: Songwriter Sam Barsh On Success In The Streaming Age

Sam Barsh

Photo: Koury Angelo 


How It Really Works: Songwriter Sam Barsh On Success In The Streaming Age

The multi-platinum music creator discusses the reality of making a living as a songwriting in the streaming age

Advocacy/Apr 26, 2019 - 08:42 pm

What does it take to make a living as a songwriter in today's music industry? The answer may surprise you. Multi-platinum songwriter, producer and keyboardist Sam Barsh would know. His smash-hit credits include co-writer on Aloe Blacc's "The Man," writer and keyboardist on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly, contributions to albums by Anderson .Paak, BJ The Chicago Kid, Ledisi and many more.

We sat down with Barsh to hear his perspective from the front lines of music creating as a living, and his insights are powerful. Below, Barsh shines a light on the reality of making a living as a songwriter in the streaming age and provides valuable advice to aspiring songwriters and a glimpse at why all music creators can find optimism in the recently passed Music Modernization Act.

As a major songwriter how has the streaming age affected your bottom line?

The biggest change that streaming has brought to the songwriting business is the replacement of physical or download sales with streaming, and the corresponding difference in revenue. Physical sales continue to disappear while streaming is the way of the present and the future.

The mechanical royalty payment for a physical or download sale of a song is $0.091 per sale, while the average streaming mechanical royalty payment is $0.00043 per stream. (The $0.00043 per stream figure is the average per stream payment from Spotify, which is the most used streaming platform in the US. Apple and Tidal pay more, Google pays less, so the Spotify number is a good median). And since songwriters have their rates set by the U.S Government, we can’t really go out and sell our songs to those services for what they should be worth.

The good news is the Music Modernization Act is set to change that [with the institution of a market-based "willing buyer, willing seller" standard], and that’s exciting and encouraging, but at the end of the day the new royalty rates will still be set by the government and as we’ve seen recently subject to appeals and court fights. So even though I have a catalog of over 100 songs, a large number of which are with major artists, including four songs featured on No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 and multiple Gold and Platinum plaques, that doesn't translate into riches.

Could you go into more detail on the royalties you earn? 

To paint a very clear picture of how most songwriters earn money from streaming, let's examine the “album cut,” or a song that wasn't a single, on a major platinum album.

Fifth Harmony's [second album] 7/27 is a perfect example to use, since it's an album by a huge act that has a lot of different songwriters on it… It's a quintessential professional pop songwriter album, if you will.

Like almost every platinum album, 7/27 was led by its singles. On Spotify, “Work from Home” has almost 900 million streams, “All in My Head (Flex)” has close to 300 million, and “That's My Girl” has 130 million plus.

By contrast, seven of the songs on the album have less than 22 million streams each on Spotify. Taking into account that Spotify has a little less than 40 percent market share for streaming, let’s just approximate that each of those seven album cuts streamed 50 million times total across all platforms.

With the average streaming rate mentioned before of $0.00043 per stream, that means a song with 50 million streams earns $21,500. With an average of 5 writers per song on 7/27, assuming in this case that they all got even splits, each writer on one of these cuts would earn around $4,300 from streaming.

Considering that album cuts are much less likely to get major sync licenses or radio play, in many cases that $4,300 is practically all the songwriter will make from landing a song with an A-list pop act. Of course, artists like Fifth Harmony still sell some physical copies, but that is a small number in the scheme of overall sales. And keep in mind that there are songs on major platinum albums with WAY less than 50 million streams. Also, most writers have either an admin deal or a publishing deal, which will take anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of their earnings.

Contrast this with if Fifth Harmony had released this album in 2003 with the same numbers. For the entire CD era, if people wanted to buy an artist's single, they would purchase the album that the song was on. Given that “Work From Home” went 5x Platinum in the USA alone, for this purpose we'll assume people would have purchased 5 million copies of the album. With a statutory mechanical rate at that time of around 9 cents per song, each song on the album would have generated $450,000 from U.S. sales, with the individual songwriter's 20 percent of one song earning them $90,000 in US mechanicals alone, as opposed to today's number of $4,300 from the entire world.

This analysis is not an exact science, but it paints the picture of how things have changed.

In light of the difficulties of earning a living in the streaming age, what would you say to an aspiring hit songwriter?

First of all, I would say don’t quit writing songs if that's what you love to do. It’s part of our DNA as writers to create songs, and it is a hell of a lot more fun than most other things people do for a living. However, if you’re in it just to chase hits and make money, you need to know what the stakes are. 

Be forewarned that if your primary goal in becoming a songwriter is to get rich, your odds are infinitesimal. You’re not only competing with millions of writers for one of the top 30-50 songs (the songs that generally make real money), you also have to account for the fact that most hits today have between three and six writers on them, so the pie is divided accordingly. 

Also, the concept of an “evergreen” copyright has changed, since streaming has put a major dent into catalog sales for older songs.

"I was told recently by a legacy artist who had big hits in the 70s that their catalog royalties went down about 70 percent since streaming took over." -Sam Barsh

Given that most hit songs generate the majority of their revenue during a two to three-year peak period, you would have to write multiple hit singles and/or have a substantial percentage of a global super-smash to make the “set for life” money that many people think comes from writing just one hit song. It's definitely not impossible, but you can have a lot of success as a songwriter and still just be living royalty check to royalty check.

On the positive side, streaming is a great tool for artists. So if you're a writer/artist, self-releasing music is a way to both gain exposure and make money. It's much easier to get somebody to check out your music via streaming than it was when you just had to hope someone who never heard of you would randomly decide to buy your CD at the record store. And payments for the master side of recordings are about 10 times higher than mechanical streaming royalties for songwriters. 

Lastly, for my musician friends that are dabbling in songwriting and production, know that you’re competing with people who do nothing but write songs and produce, and have been honing their craft with as much dedication as we have with our instruments. I myself have put in my 10,000 hours at least threefold, as a musician, a songwriter and as a producer and engineer. And it still took me 10 years of seriously working at songwriting to write major records.

What’s one tip you’d give that a young songwriter might not be aware of?

Be mindful of splits ahead of time. I recommend having a conversation with your co-writers directly, before getting management involved, whenever possible. That doesn’t always prevent somebody from tripping or going back on their word, but if you can communicate directly with your collaborators and agree on splits before the song gets placed or recorded, it will alleviate headaches later on. 

You mentioned your role as a producer earlier. Can you talk a bit about what it’s like to be a producer?

One of my favorite things about being a producer is that it requires me to utilize the entire range of my musical, emotional and intellectual skill sets. I'm a people person, and every situation is different, so I always get an intrinsic feel for the energies in the room and do my best to facilitate a day of great work. Making the artists, writers, musicians, engineers and anyone else who happens to be in the room feel comfortable and stay focused is essential, because most of the time they're looking to the producer to set, or at least guide, the tone of the session.

All that being said, nowadays producers spend a lot of time working alone. In modern pop, hip-hop and R&B music, producers are responsible for creating the instrumental tracks, hiring outside musicians if necessary, recording and editing the vocals (sometimes with help of engineers and vocal producers), editing audio, adding effects, making requested changes from artists and labels, and delivering a quality rough mix and individual audio files (aka stems). In my experience, the average pop track takes a producer 30-50 hours to complete, often more.

I produce jazz records as well, which tend to take less time because in most cases the artist has selected the material and gotten the arrangements done in advance of the session, and the recordings are usually done by a live band all at once in the span of 2-3 days. Jazz producing is largely about time management and setting a good vibe in the tracking sessions, helping the artist pick takes and solos, and shaping the sound of the instruments in conjunction with the tracking and mix engineers.

For all of this work, producers receive an upfront fee upon delivery of the final product and a backend royalty [The Music Modernization Act guarantees direct payment of this royalty if you register with SoundExchange]. Despite the fact that a lot of people may not understand all it is that we do, as you can see from the amount of skill and time it requires to create and take a record across the finish line, the work of a producer has big-time value and should be treated as such.

Lastly, what can songwriters do to ensure their rights are protected and demand better compensation?

There’s no union for songwriters, but there are organizations like the Recording Academy or Songwriters of North America that we can join that fight for our rights and compensation. These groups were instrumental in getting the Music Modernization Act passed.

However, even with these groups fighting for our rights, according to US law anybody can record any song without permission, and any terrestrial or streaming radio station can play any recording without permission, as long as they pay the statutory rate of compensation to the rights holders. Without the ability to withhold the product, and with compensation rates set by government, we don’t have much leverage in that fight. 

The exceptions to this are for the first recording of a song, and for sync licensing in film, television and commercials. 

If you write a song that you believe is a smash meant for a major artist, but a label wants to have an unknown artist record it, or an indie artist wants to record it, you have the right to say no, as long as the song has never been officially released on another recording. However, once the song has been recorded and released, anyone has the right to record it again.

And if someone wants to license your song for a show, film or commercial, you have the right to negotiate the fee or to say no.

The underlying theme of all of this is that knowledge is power. The more we all stay aware of the realities of our business and communicate with each other, the better off we all will be. Earning money as a songwriter or music producer is the definition of art intersecting commerce, but a lot of us ignore the commerce part of it. Nobody would accept a job in another field without knowing how much it paid first, and a contractor wouldn't build a custom home for a client without first negotiating a price. If we can approach our work the same way, it could go a long way to convincing our clients and consumers to acknowledge the value of our work.

The opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the Recording Academy.

GRAMMYs On The Hill 2019: Music & Politics Unite At Washington's Largest Advocacy Event For Music

How District Advocate Day 2023 Uplifted Music People And Expanded With Its First Ever GRAMMY Advocacy Conference
District Advocate Meeting with Congressman Jerry Nadler and Robert Gottheim (District Director for Rep. Jerry Nadler) and NYC Chapter Watch Party

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.

Advocacy/Oct 6, 2023 - 07:18 pm

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.

5 Key Issues For District Advocate Day 2023: AI, Live Music, Free Expression & More

The Recording Academy Partners With U.S. Secretary Of State Antony J. Blinken To Launch The Global Music Diplomacy Initiative; Quincy Jones Awarded Inaugural Peace Through Music Award
(L-R) Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. and U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken speak onstage during the launch of the Global Music Diplomacy Initiative at the U.S. Department of State on September 27, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

Photos: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


The Recording Academy Partners With U.S. Secretary Of State Antony J. Blinken To Launch The Global Music Diplomacy Initiative; Quincy Jones Awarded Inaugural Peace Through Music Award

The global initiative will promote diplomacy through music worldwide and will also feature the American Music Mentorship Program, which will see Recording Academy professionals and members provide mentorship opportunities to international participants.

Advocacy/Sep 28, 2023 - 05:56 pm

Continuing its mission to ensure that music remains an indelible part of our culture around the world, the Recording Academy has partnered with the U.S. Department of State and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to help launch the Global Music Diplomacy Initiative, an international initiative that will promote peace, diplomacy and democracy through music worldwide. Using music as a diplomatic tool globally, the initiative will leverage public-private partnerships to create a music ecosystem that expands economic equity and elevates the creative economy, ensures societal opportunity and inclusion, and increases access to education. The Global Music Diplomacy Initiative will also build on existing public diplomacy music programs to create partnerships with American companies and nonprofits to convey American leadership globally and create connections with people worldwide.

The Global Music Diplomacy Initiative also includes the American Music Mentorship Program, a partnership between the State Department and the Recording Academy, which will bring international mid-career music industry professionals and musical artists to the United States for mentorship and networking opportunities. The program will invite Recording Academy professionals and members to provide international participants with mentorship opportunities and professional development.

See a full outline of the Global Music Diplomacy Initiative below.

Secretary Blinken announced the Global Music Diplomacy Initiative Sept. 27 during a lively celebration at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. He signaled the start of the inaugural event by highlighting its attendees. "We have a few dignitaries come through this building, but it is a special treat to have so many members of music royalty here tonight," he said excitedly.

The evening engendered a melodic blend of music, peace and policy. The private event featured breathtaking performances from Dave Grohl, Herbie Hancock, Mickey Guyton, Armani White, and many other leading American and international artists. U2's Bono shared a special video message from Las Vegas as well.

Singer/songwriter Aimee Mann performed her 1999 song "Save Me" with the admission that she was "deeply honored but also a bit freaked out to be here."

Perhaps less nervous, Secretary Blinken added that he couldn't "pass up" the one-in-a-lifetime chance to "combine music and diplomacy," as he performed Muddy Water's 1954 classic, "Hoochie Coochie Man."

"If this doesn't clear the house, I don't know what will," Blinken said playfully ahead of his performance.

In addition to the performances, Secretary Blinken and Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. presented 28-time GRAMMY winner Quincy Jones with the inaugural Peace Through Music Award.

A collaboration between the Department and the Recording Academy, the award recognizes and honors an American music industry professional, artist, or group that has played an invaluable role in cross-cultural exchanges and whose music work advances peace and mutual understanding globally.

"His work, his actions continue to advance peace through music, and I am sure they will for generations to come," Mason jr. said. "It's my true honor to recognize my friend and mentor, Mr. Quincy Jones, as the first-ever recipient of what will now and into the future be known as the Quincy Jones Peace Through Music Award."

Read More: Mogul Moment: How Quincy Jones Became An Architect Of Black Music

The Global Music Diplomacy Initiative was developed pursuant to the bipartisan Promoting Peace, Education, And Cultural Exchange (PEACE) Through Music Diplomacy Act, which was championed by the Recording Academy and its members in 2022 at GRAMMYs On The Hill and during the annual grassroots District Advocate Day. The legislation, introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden in December 2022.

Here's a complete breakdown of the Global Music Diplomacy Initiative:

  • American Music Mentorship Program

The American Music Mentorship Program, a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the Recording Academy, will bring international mid-career music industry professionals, which may include musical artists, to the United States for mentorship and networking opportunities, with an aim to cultivate a professional music industry ecosystem locally and globally, to support creative talent, and to strengthen the creative economy globally. It will leverage the networks and experience of Recording Academy professionals and members to provide international participants mentorship opportunities, boost their technical skills, and build the foundation for professional networks.  The first American Music Mentorship Program will be held in the fall of 2024.

  • Fulbright-Kennedy Center Visiting Scholar Award in Arts and Science

The Fulbright Program, the United States' flagship international academic exchange program, will collaborate with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to create a new fellowship opportunity for foreign scholars.  The new Fulbright-Kennedy Center Visiting Scholar Award in Arts and Science will focus on the intersections of the arts (music, dance, theater, etc.) and science, including how the arts can contribute to individual and global health and well-being, and the environment. An award competition will be announced in fall 2023, and the Kennedy Center will host the first scholar in academic year 2024-25.

  • Boosting English-Language Learning Through Music

Recognizing the strategic importance of English-language learning overseas, especially for youth and underserved communities, the Department will incorporate music into its existing $40 million investment in English-language learning worldwide, including through exchanges, curriculum, and scholarships to provide access to English-learning classes for promising students between the ages of 13 and 20.

The Department will augment broader global English-language learning by supporting Sing Out Loud, a program that provides resources for teaching English through music in collaboration with American Music Abroad (AMA), bringing music and lyrics into classrooms across the world.

In addition to the Secretary's announcements, the Global Music Diplomacy Initiative will include vast programming around the world, including:

  • Arts Envoys to Travel to the Middle East, People's Republic of China

Herbie Hancock, along with Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Ensemble at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), will be performing in Jordan in October to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1963 Jazz Ambassador tour of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

The Herbie Hancock tour will then travel to Saudi Arabia for a four-day Arts Envoy program – the first of its kind between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

From November 9-18, 2023, The Philadelphia Orchestra is slated to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its historic 1973 tour of the People's Republic of China (PRC) with Ensemble Performances and Residency Activities in multiple cities in the PRC.

  • Ten American Bands to Travel to 30 Countries Starting in October Through American Music Abroad; AMA Academy Cleveland to Host Young Professional Musicians from Ukrainian Diaspora

Beginning in October 2023 and representing multiple genres, Birckhead, The Beatbox House, The Invisibles, Marielle Kraft, Matthew Whitaker, Pipeline Vocal Project, Raining Jane, Sihasin, Sub-Radio, and Tap Music Project will travel to 30 countries from October 2023 through June 2024.

In November 2023, the 2023 American Music Abroad Academy Cleveland will bring together young professional musicians from the Ukrainian diaspora and around the world for collaboration and mentorship opportunities from American instructors with a focus on cultural preservation through music. Learn more about AMA here.

  • Next Level to Use Hip Hop in Nigeria, Bring International Artists to the U.S. to Focus on Conflict Transformation

In September 2023, four U.S. hip hop artists focusing on conflict transformation will travel to Lagos for a two-week Next Level Academy.  In addition, 10 international participants will travel to Washington, D.C. and New York, New York for a two-week professional development program on conflict transformation through hip hop. Learn more about Next Level here.

  • Scaling Social Entrepreneurship Projects, Strengthening Creative Economy Through OneBeat

From November 6-20, 2023, musicians from Ghana and Nigeria will come together to collaboratively create and discuss how music can bring people together through social entrepreneurship projects, as part of the OneBeat program. Learn more about OneBeat here.

  • Harmundi International Music Summit to Welcome Students from Every Continent in November 2023

Virtually connecting more than 60 international students from every continent through music, the Harmundi Summit will provide intense music training, cross-cultural collaboration, studio recording, and live performances under the mentorship of world-class musicians and producers.  The Summit, which will take place November 3-5, 2023, will be led by alumni of the Department's exchanges, and is part of the Department's Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund.  This fund provides grants of up to $10,000 for public service projects that utilize the skills, knowledge, and networks exchange alumni gained through their exchange experiences.

Learn more about the Global Music Diplomacy Initiative.

How Vice President Kamala Harris And The Recording Academy Celebrated The 50th Anniversary Of Hip-Hop: 'Hip-Hop Culture Is America's Culture'

The Copyright Royalty Board Has Published Their Determination On Phonorecords III — Here’s What That Means For Songwriters
Photo of (L-R): Nija Charles, Laura Veltz and Evan Bogart



The Copyright Royalty Board Has Published Their Determination On Phonorecords III — Here’s What That Means For Songwriters

This determination means songwriters will start to receive back pay on royalties they were owed from 2018-2022.

Advocacy/Aug 28, 2023 - 09:10 pm

After a yearslong process, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has officially published their determination on Phonorecords III — meaning songwriters will start to receive back pay on royalties they were owed from 2018-2022. 

As the Recording Academy covered earlier this year, the CRB announced a confirmation of the mechanical royalty rate increase from 10.5% to 15.1% for the Phonorecords III period (that covers 2018-2022). Despite that ruling occurring earlier this year, the process was not officially complete until the determination was published this month. 

This is a monumental win for songwriters and composers, who will soon begin to receive the additional owed royalties. To help break down some common questions, the Recording Academy put together a brief FAQ on what this means for songwriters:

How much will songwriters receive?

While the final calculation is not publicly known, some reports estimate that digital streaming services will owe as much as $200 million to songwriters and publishers from Phonorecords III.  

When will songwriters begin to receive the backpay?

Songwriters can expect to begin to receive their share of the owed royalties no later than February 2024 — streaming services have six months from August 10 to make arrangements and payments for the mechanical royalty rates they owe songwriters from 2018 to 2022.

How will songwriters collect the backpay? 

The Mechanical Licensing Collective is expected to pay any owed royalties that were incurred in 2021 or 2022, which is when it was operational following the passage of the Music Modernization Act.

For royalties owed from 2018 to 2020, the digital platforms will be responsible for making proper payments and may contract with a third-party vendor for processing.  

Will there be any oversight to this process?

The U.S. Copyright Office and Congress are monitoring this important process. In addition, stakeholders including the Recording Academy and its Songwriters & Composers Wing will work to ensure that payments are paid properly and timely. 

The Recording Academy has been vocal in advocating for songwriters and composers throughout this entire process and has continually pushed for these artists to receive a fairer royalty rate for their works. 

Now that the determination has been publicly released, payments to songwriters and composers must be done in an efficient and accurate manner.

The Academy intends to continue following the process and advocating for these artists to receive the payments they have earned.  

Songwriters Receive Monumental Victory From Copyright Royalty Board: Here's What The Increase Means For The Music Community

District Advocate Day Is Back On Oct. 5: How The Annual Advocacy Day Will Benefit Music People Worldwide

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.

Advocacy/Aug 14, 2023 - 07:29 pm

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!

How The Recording Academy Is Helping Ensure Music Creators Are Top Of Mind When It Comes To AI And Copyright Law