Now more than ever, advocating for creators' rights is an essential part of preserving and improving the music industry. In a year wrought with devastating shutdowns, cancellations and closures due to the pandemic, music makers rely all the more on trickling income streams, essential stimulus legislation, and fair pay for their work.
Springing into action, the Recording Academy launched the Summer of Advocacy to amplify the voices of the music community leading up to its flagship activation, the seventh annual District Advocate day. With months of action and activity in the near rearview and a wildly successful culminating event, it's worth marking the Summer of Advocacy as a huge success and taking a moment to pause and look back before resuming our efforts, stronger than ever. After all, by recognizing the success of their storytelling and collaboration during hundreds of meetings with lawmakers, music creators can celebrate progress with the confidence to keep pressing.
And the summer has been filled with much more than meetings, including the launch of numerous letter writing campaigns, a voter registration drive, and participation in Congressional hearings. Let's take a close look at the deep impact of 2020's Summer of Advocacy…
Contacting Congress Campaigns
Wielding the proverbial power of the pen all summer long, the Academy has asked our members to advocate for numerous issues that would benefit music creators. In all, members sent nearly 6,500 letters in support of six separate calls to action including urging the passage of the Save Our Stages Act, ensuring equitable treatment of COVID-19 relief, and advocating for support of the HITS Act, a new bipartisan solution that would allow an individual to fully expense the cost of new studio recordings on their taxes up to $150,000. Hearing from those affected most by these policies is the best way to inform those who ultimately vote for their passage.
Speaking of voting, the Academy encouraged its members to take part in the political process by registering to vote. With so many important issues at stake, the music community and its supporters must ensure their voices are heard. If you have yet to register for November’s election, please visit Vote.org.
On the ground and on the stand, Academy members spoke loud and clear this summer. On July 28, four-time GRAMMY winning singer/songwriter and Recording Academy Trustee Yolanda Adams shared her first-hand experience and perspective on the topic of fair use, as the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held another Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) hearing.
Earlier in the summer, Recording Academy Chair & Interim CEO Harvey Mason jr. testified before the same subcommittee regarding the scope of music rights in sound recordings, the dire need for the U.S. to catch up with other free countries by passing the AM-FM Act, and the importance of supporting music creators in the next phase of COVID-19 relief stimulus funding.
The Summer of Advocacy reached a pinnacle on August 12, as the Recording Academy mobilized nearly 2,000 members across the country to meet with over 250 Congressional offices, making District Advocate day the . Since advocates were unable to attend in person, they were invited to participate in virtual meetings, and did they ever. Participants included GRAMMY winners Adams, Brandy Clark, José Feliciano, John Legend, Ziggy Marley and PJ Morton and GRAMMY nominees Victoria Monét and Offset.
The Summer of Advocacy mobilized members in 49 States, DC, and Puerto Rico. None of this would have been possible without each and every single member who gave their time and passion to the cause. As the quest to build a better system continues into fall 2020 and beyond, the Recording Academy thanks all those who made the first-ever Summer of Advocacy a nationwide success. Remember, advocacy works.