Music Modernization Act Passes House Of Representatives Unanimously

Rep. Doug Collins and the Recording Academy's Daryl Friedman
Photo: Paul Morigi/


Music Modernization Act Passes House Of Representatives Unanimously

Passage comes one week after GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy

Advocacy/Apr 26, 2018 - 01:28 am

The Music Modernization Act officially passed the U.S. House of Representative today, winning its first battle for legislative approval on the House floor with a unanimous 415–0 vote. Having previously passed mark-up by the House Judiciary Committee on April 11 with a unanimous 32–0 vote of approval, the MMA arrived at the House with a mandate from the masses that Congress enact equitable reforms in the music industry.

"Sometimes big pieces of legislation can come together only through the efforts of a large number of people who invest their time in making change happen, as so many members of this committee and so many stakeholders in the music and digital delivery communities have done," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) during the committee's mark-up.

Just last week, the Recording Academy hosted the 2018 GRAMMYs On The Hill Awards gala, bringing together a who's who of Capitol Hill heavyweights and music creators. The combined forces not only celebrated the power of advocacy, creativity and music but pushed forward the momentum for the MMA.

"Music creators compose the soundtrack to our lives. These creators deserve to be paid a fair wage for their work," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "The passage of the Music Modernization Act in the House of Representatives is a historic step forward for all music creators, ensuring that they are credited, paid, and shown the respect they deserve for the impact they have on our culture and daily life. We are honored that GRAMMYs on the Hill helped to pave the way for these long overdue updates."

"Last week, GRAMMYs on the Hill brought the stories of artists, composers, producers, and songwriters to Washington, sharing the challenges of their industry and the robust solutions provided by the Music Modernization Act," added honoree Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.). "The Recording Academy and an array of stakeholders have helped a bipartisan group of legislators protect an American art form, and I'm grateful for the consensus that was reflected in today's vote."

Looking forward, a happy ending for music creators would be a bill signing ceremony at the White House before the end of this year. However, before that can come to fruition, the bill will next proceed to the U.S. Senate, with the burden now on our nation's senators to make the right choice to protect music creators and update the laws that prevent music creators from being fairly compensated for their creative works.

Music Modernization Act: A Vision For Unity

The Recording Academy Announces 3rd Annual "Behind The Record" Initiative To Continue To #GiveCredit To Creators In Music


The Recording Academy Announces 3rd Annual "Behind The Record" Initiative To Continue To #GiveCredit To Creators In Music

This year, the Recording Academy's "Behind The Record" initiative, a global social media activation aimed at spotlighting the many creators in music, introduces Behind The Record Advocacy, a new virtual program to discus creators' needs with Congress

Recording Academy/Oct 12, 2021 - 05:00 pm

The Recording Academy has announced that it will continue giving credit where credit is due with its 3rd annual "Behind The Record" initiative, a global social media activation aimed at spotlighting the many producers, engineers, songwriters, composers, mixers, instrumentalists, and other creators who contribute to the music recording process. Taking place Friday, Oct. 15, the industry-wide conversation encourages artists across all music genres to celebrate their collaborators' incredible behind-the-scenes work on the tracks, records and albums loved by music fans around the world. This year's campaign features a short film, narrated by Recording Academy Board of Trustees Secretary/Treasurer Om'Mas Keith, illustrating that behind every hit song is an intricate dance of creativity that builds and builds to the final product.

A day before the social media activation's launch, on Thursday, Oct. 14, the Recording Academy will introduce Behind The Record Advocacy, a new virtual advocacy program to inform lawmakers about issues affecting the creators behind their favorite records. Building off the success of the Recording Academy's "Behind The Record" initiative, Academy members will meet virtually with members of Congress nationwide to discuss legislation that would have a direct impact on America's recording artists, songwriters and studio professionals, such as the HITS Act and the American Music Fairness Act. With nearly 200 meetings with congressional offices anticipated for Behind The Record Advocacy, members will focus on ensuring that the individuals behind the record are able to earn fair compensation for their work.

"It takes a village to create a recording, and as an organization that serves to support all music creators, we invite our peers to join us in spotlighting the many music professionals behind our favorite songs," Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, said. "While we celebrate the music professionals behind the scenes, we also recognize the importance of fighting for fair treatment of creators. We're proud of the evolution of 'Behind The Record' to include an advocacy element this year as we continue our ongoing work to ensure all music creators flourish."

"Behind The Record" is supported by the Recording Academy's Advocacy Department, Producers & Engineers Wing and Songwriters & Composers Wing. Supporting all music creators—including the artists behind our favorite records—is an urgent initiative for the Recording Academy year-round. Within the past year alone, the Recording Academy established the Songwriters & Composers Wing to better represent the diverse community of music creators who provide the world with the gift of song. The Academy also reintroduced the HITS Act in the House and Senate, which would allow artists and record producers to deduct 100 percent of sound recording production expenses in the year they are incurred, and continued efforts to support women producers and engineers through its Women In The Mix initiative.

To help the Recording Academy further support creators working behind the scenes, artists can participate in "Behind The Record" by:

  • Emailing to request an access code to the Credit Cover Generator Portal.
  • Posting your Credit Cover across social media channels and tagging those who worked on your project. Use hashtags #BehindTheRecord #GiveCredit #WeAreMusic.
  • Artists can create Credit Covers for a single track or album, and covers will live in a gallery on the "Behind The Record" website for music fans to view and discover the roles of creatives behind some of their favorite records.

For the third year, Jaxsta, the world's largest public-facing dedicated database of official music credits, provided credits for Warner Music, Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and Merlin releases.

For more information, please visit the "Behind The Record" website. Follow and join the global conversation on social media using the hashtags #BehindTheRecord, #GiveCredit and #WeAreMusic.

Learn More About The Recording Academy's "Behind The Record" Initiative

Recording Academy Prepares For Future Leadership Transition

Neil Portnow

Photo: Paul Morigi/


Recording Academy Prepares For Future Leadership Transition

After years of success as President/CEO, Neil Portnow will work with the Recording Academy Board to engage qualified leadership to take the organization into its seventh decade of operation

Recording Academy/Jun 1, 2018 - 01:56 am

Since 2002, the Recording Academy has achieved a period of prosperity and unprecedented growth under the leadership of President/CEO Neil Portnow, positioning the organization as the world's leading society of music professionals.

Today, the Recording Academy has announced that Portnow will begin preparing for a leadership transition after choosing to not seek an extension on his current contract. Throughout the next year, Portnow will work with the Academy Board to develop an organizational succession and transition plan, while continuing his current work as active President/CEO of the Recording Academy and MusiCares, and Chair of the Board of the GRAMMY Museum.

"The evolution of industries, institutions and organizations is ultimately the key to their relevance, longevity, and success," said Portnow. "Having been a member of the Recording Academy for four decades, serving as an elected leader and our President/CEO, I have not only witnessed our evolution, but proudly contributed significantly to the Academy's growth and stature in the world.

"When I had the honor of being selected to lead this great organization in 2002, I vowed that on my watch, for the first time in our history, we would have a thoughtful, well-planned collegial transition. With a little more than a year remaining on my current contract, I've decided that this is an appropriate time to deliver on that promise. Accordingly, I'll be working with our Board to put the various elements in place that will ensure transparency, best practices, and the Academy's ability to find the very best, brightest, and qualified leadership to take us into our seventh decade of operation. I truly look forward to continuing my role leading the Academy in the year ahead, and to continuing the pursuit of excellence and the fine missions we embrace and deliver."

Under Portnow's leadership during his 16-year tenure, the Recording Academy achieved several key milestones, including:

  • Establishing advocacy as a hallmark of the Recording Academy's Washington, D.C., office, giving music creators a voice on Capitol Hill, and stressing the need to update dated federal music laws. Last month, after 15 years of advocacy work, and on the heels of the organization's GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards and Advocacy Day, the Music Modernization Act, which helps bring copyright laws and artist protection into the 21st century, was passed in the House of Representatives and introduced in the Senate.
  • As the Recording Academy's leading charity, MusiCares will have provided more than $5.9 million to 7,900 members of the music industry in this fiscal year alone — marking the largest number of clients served and dollars distributed in a single year in the charity's history.
  • The Academy opened the first GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles in 2008. The Museum has since expanded its presence domestically and internationally.
  • A landmark 10-year broadcast deal with CBS to keep the GRAMMY Awards telecast — one of television's major entertainment events, ranking as one of the highest-rated and most-watched specials — on CBS through 2026. 
  • The expansion of the Recording Academy's telecast portfolio, which more than tripled the organization's television footprint with a number of new specials, including GRAMMY Salutes to Elton John, the Bee Gees, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, and Whitney Houston, as well as the PBS "Great Performances" series honoring GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and Special Merit Award recipients.
  • In 2017, the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition united more than 30 of the nation's most forward-thinking music education organizations with the goal of increasing the number of youth actively participating in creating, playing, and performing music in U.S. public schools.
  •  After 58 years of traditional balloting, the GRAMMY Awards successfully implemented an online voting platform.

Portnow is the longest serving President in the Recording Academy's 60-year history. His contract is set to expire in July 2019.

Catching Up On Music News Powered By The Recording Academy Just Got Easier. Have A Google Home Device? "Talk To GRAMMYs"


Launch Your Music Career With GRAMMY U's Innovation Pitch Contest

GRAMMY U students with Greta Van Fleet

Photo: Jason Davis/Getty Images       


Launch Your Music Career With GRAMMY U's Innovation Pitch Contest

The winner and a guest will win a trip, including passes, flight, hotel, and transportation, to attend Austin City Limits Music Festival

Recording Academy/Jul 28, 2018 - 02:41 am

Calling all college music creatives: GRAMMY U is looking for ways to make great summer music festivals even greater and wants to hear all about your ideas.

New music festivals pop up every year, creating more choices for avid fans. More choices also mean more competition. With so many options, GRAMMY U wants to challenge student minds to think of ways organizers can enhance fan and festival experiences to stand out. Have ideas? Now is your chance to enter the Innovation Pitch contest.

When pitching your idea, put yourself in the mindset of festival organizers. They must consider all aspects of the festival experience: local flavor, production, marketing, environmental impact. Students should focus on what interests them professionally and recommend improvements. Creativity on how to execute ideas is welcome — documents, videos, presentations, or any other format that inspires will be accepted as submissions. Entries are due by Aug. 6.

The winner, along with a guest, will receive roundtrip airfare to Austin, Texas, to attend the 2018 Austin City Limits Music Festival Oct. 12–14. Passes, accommodation and transportation to the festival will be provided.

Innovation Pitch, formerly known as Business Plan Competition, will also connect students with industry professionals who can provide insight on what it takes to make big ideas come to life.

"Professionals in the industry want to hear these ideas and see solutions through the eyes of the future of the music industry," Recording Academy Director of Special Projects, Membership & Industry Relations Virginia Faddy says. "That is why the mentorship aspect of this contest is so important; we are not only providing a platform to share these amazing ideas, but also directly connecting the winner with mentors so they can hear what real-world activation of their concept might entail."

The competition gave 2015's winner Kiran Gandhi, who developed a sustainable music streaming service pay structure, the chance to spend the day with RCA Records CEO Tom Corson and other staff members. Her first-hand experience reaffirmed her mission to elevate diversity in music.

"When artists see themselves in the people they are working with, they have more comfort and trust with the system," she wrote in her blog. "There is a business case to having people of different walks of life — not just to check a diversity box that makes people feel better."

Innovation Pitch is only one such opportunity for students interested in working in the music industry when they graduate. Recording Academy GRAMMY U members gain access to valuable behind-the-scenes experiences with music professionals working today.

"GRAMMY U offered chances to attend GU SoundChecks (of touring artists), opportunities to volunteer, access to an online portal with exclusive industry content, and so much more," current GRAMMY U member Billy Farmer II said. "Becoming a member enhanced my music industry network and led to job opportunities. Joining GRAMMY U was one of the best decisions I made as a college student."

GRAMMY U continues to connect students with the industry's brightest minds, while giving them the tools to launch their careers in music. If this sounds like you, consider joining your fellow future music colleagues through GRAMMY U and don't forget to enter the 2018 Innovation Pitch contest.

Catching Up On Music News Powered By The Recording Academy Just Got Easier. Have A Google Home Device? "Talk To GRAMMYs"


A Message To The Future Of The Music Industry

Recording Academy/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Neil Portnow's keynote speech at the 2007 GRAMMYs on the Hill event 

How does it feel to turn 50? For some in the room, it may be a fond memory. For The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Awards, on our 50th Anniversary, we're using the tagline: "For some it's a milestone — but we're just getting started."

To a large extent, what that means to us is looking ahead to the next 50 years, and that includes preparing to turn over the reins to the next generation. And for that next generation of music makers, creators, executives, legislators and fans, these next 50 years will define the future of the music industry and indeed, the future of our entire cultural landscape.

As I travel, I meet students from our GRAMMY Signature Schools from all across the country and I can tell you, they make me very optimistic about the future of the music industry. They are bright, passionate and who knows — maybe one of them even dreams of growing up to be a music lobbyist.

For all these reasons, I want to particularly recognize our guests from Chesnee High School's music department, whom you just met. To them I say, keep up the great work, use this grant and recognition wisely, and know that the current generation of music leaders is relying on you to carry the future of our business to even greater heights. As I add my personal congratulations to each of our GRAMMYs on the Hill honorees for their impressive achievements which have allowed all of our lives to be enriched through music, I’d like to direct my comments tonight to music students everywhere, and particularly to the music students of Chesnee High School and the students from all of our GRAMMY Signature Schools, each of whom will receive a podcast of these remarks.

I know to many of you in high school music programs, it looks like we don't have a clue. Technology is changing faster than we can manage it, and you — the young music lovers — have mastered it far better than we have. It may even appear as if we are fighting new technologies, trying to hold them back. And I can certainly understand how it might look that way.

But let me assure you that every music industry leader in this room, every member of Congress here tonight, every technologist present, and every legislative staffer here with us, is working as hard as they can to prepare for and adjust to the new world of music.

We may not always get it right. But our overriding concern is a noble one — protecting the intellectual property of music makers and copyright owners so that music creation can and will continue. And if it appears that we are treading too slowly into the new world, it is because that concern is paramount in our minds and certainly is not easy or simple to address.

You should also know that technology entrepreneurs and music industry leaders are working together each day to solve these issues and hasten the digital transition. And I'd like to share with you — publicly for the first time — one such place where this occurred at an entirely new level.

Last year at this podium, I spoke about the so-called music and technology war. Rhetorical battles were creating an environment in which cooperation was difficult. I called for a truce, and offered The Recording Academy as the facilitator of a high-level summit between music and technology leaders.

That summit actually took place this summer — at George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, Calif. Why at Skywalker? No, it wasn't because each side saw the other as the evil empire.

It was because Lucas's operation is one that seamlessly — you might even say "magically" — melds content and technology to produce results that are at once artistic, popular — and profitable.

Sitting at a conference table in the cavernous Skywalker soundstage where so many innovative films were scored, we were inspired by what can happen when music and technology work together toward a common goal.

So, we gathered our participants for a two-day retreat. To keep us honest, we mixed in four music creators: Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn, Leslie Ann Jones of Skywalker Sound, and two of the industry's most successful producers — who are here with us tonight — Jimmy Jam and Phil Ramone.

Guided by our expert moderators, technology guru Ted Cohen and digital entertainment attorney Bobby Rosenbloum — and, I should disclose, under the watchful eye of an antitrust attorney — the participants set out to find common ground.

Presidents, CEOs and other high-level leaders dedicated significant time to this unprecedented discussion. Executives from digital music services such as Rhapsody, Napster, eMusic, SNOCAP and Pandora; from technology manufacturers such as Microsoft and Sandisk; from retailers including Best Buy and Amazon; from major and independent music publishers; and from all four major labels came to Skywalker for the retreat.

Many of these executives were meeting face to face for the first time and to us, that alone was important. That they engaged in such an honest and open dialogue was even more fulfilling. That they all agreed to continue the discussion beyond the retreat was gratifying all the more. But perhaps paramount was their contributions to several guiding philosophies, which we're calling the GRAMMY Music & Technology Principles. These include:

First and foremost, music creators are the foundation of the music business and must be adequately compensated regardless of the technology. We must ensure that whatever technology is used to bring music to the public, creators are paid, period.

Similarly, meeting the needs of consumers is critical, and the music and technology industries must provide a wide array of business models that appeal to consumers and value compensation to creators and copyright owners. Ultimately, consumers will tell us how they wish to enjoy music. Our job is to provide them with legitimate choices that value creators' rights.

Third, new technologies are essential to the future of the music business, therefore an environment for experimentation and innovation — that respects copyright and music creators — should be fostered.  Content providers must give entrepreneurs the freedom to explore new and untested business models — but in return, those innovations must build in an appreciation and respect of copyright.

Fourth, interoperability across hardware and services is essential to the consumer experience and should be a priority in the digital music space. We cannot continue to frustrate and confuse our customers. They know any DVD they buy plays on every DVD player, and every CD plays on every CD player. Music files must do the same.

Fifth, the best defense against music piracy is a vibrant, complete and legal digital marketplace. Yes, legislation, litigation, and education all play important roles. But without giving the consumer legal options that provide the same deep catalogue as pirate sites, we will never solve the problem of piracy.

Sixth, the industry must make faster rights clearances a higher priority in order to grow the legal digital distribution of music and to more effectively compete with the volume of titles available through illegitimate sources. Now, we all recognize that music licensing is complicated by nature, and streamlining the process would help grow the business. Since the retreat, rights owners already have started to compile a "roadmap" document to make the process clearer.

Seventh, the music economy is not a zero-sum game; music and technology sectors can both benefit as the business grows. Perhaps the biggest disservice of the rhetoric wars is framing the debate as though if content wins, technology loses and vice versa. The leaders at our retreat understood that this truly can be a win-win game.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, continued dialogue among music and technology leaders is essential to facilitating growth in the marketplace. That these very busy leaders of their industries left the retreat committed to continuing the dialogue is perhaps the most gratifying principle of all.

Now, we realize that these principles are just a first step in greater cooperation between the music and technology sectors. There will continue to be hurdles and challenges ahead as we adapt to the new marketplace. But I have great respect for these leaders who came to Skywalker to build consensus, and I believe the entire industry should follow their example and the standards they have set forth.

So, to the music students listening: know that we are working to create an environment for music that recognizes the value of both creators and consumers, an environment that rejects a winner-take-all approach, and one that encourages innovation and experimentation. Even though the music industry you will manage will look very different from the one we have today, these concepts will remain constant.

Our generation will do its part to live by the GRAMMY Music & Technology Principles, and we hope you will too. We're counting on all of you to ensure that in another 50 years, the GRAMMYs' centennial will be a time to rejoice and celebrate a music industry and a culture that we all can be proud of.