Advocacy Milestones

The Recording Academy opens an office in Washington, D.C.

Academy President testifies before Congress on "Work for Hire" issue, asking for repeal of anti-artist legislation. Bill repealed later that year.

Recording Academy part of coalition that transitioned SoundExchange into an independent non-profit collective for artists and labels. Arrangement calls for direct payment to artists and Recording Academy representation on SoundExchange board.

Academy's Advocacy magazine Capitol Tracks launched.

First GRAMMY Industry Roundtable held to discuss industry issues. Academy President Neil Portnow, GRAMMY winner Dave Matthews, GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam, musician Brian McKnight, and leading business executives attend discussion. This event begins ongoing collaborative dialogue between industry creators and executives.

Academy works with U.S. House of Representatives to form Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus. The Caucus seeks to advance the rights of musicians, songwriters, singers, producers and other recording professionals by raising awareness of creators' rights in the U.S. Congress.

First GRAMMY Town Hall held. Nashville event includes Reps. Mary Bono (R-Calif.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and GRAMMY winner Clint Black. Gives Academy members opportunity to learn from and interact with leading artists and Members of Congress.

Advocacy Action @ launched. Website site allows Academy members to contact Congress about important music issues.

Academy launches annual Recording Arts Day on Capitol Hill. First-ever industry-wide advocacy day in Washington attended by every sector of music industry and its creators.

Neil Portnow hosts first Music Leaders Retreat to bring top officers of different sectors of music community together to address issues facing the industry.

Academy leads artists amicus brief filed before U.S. Supreme Court in advance of critical MGM vs Grokster decision victory.

GRAMMY Industry Roundtable on education helps yield record $105 million dollar increase for arts in California schools.

Academy sets up recording studio on Capitol Hill. Kelly Clarkson demonstrates recording process for Congressional audience, and educates them about the roles of each creator in making a record.

Recording Academy presents GRAMMY Award to Senator Barack Obama on Capitol Hill.  Senator Obama won the GRAMMY for Best Spoken Word Album for his 2005 recording of Dreams From My Father.

After letter-writing campaign by Academy members, Congress removed the "artist fine" provision in the Broadcast Decency Legislation. Legislation had originally raised fines to artists to $500,000 for lyrics or other free expression that may have been deemed "indecent." Final version of the bill raised fines for broadcasters (not artists) only.

On the day of the 49th Annual GRAMMY Awards, The Academy holds a GRAMMY Industry Roundtable in Los Angeles with leading legislators, Congressional staff, and music community leaders to discuss a campaign for the creation of a performance royalty for sound recordings played on terrestrial radio. From this discussion, the strategy for the musicFIRST Coalition evolves.

Academy calls for "truce" in Music/Technology "war" and convenes high level Music/Technology Summit at Skywalker Ranch in California.

Launch of the musicFIRST Coalition on performance right issue on behalf of the thousands of recording artists that have been shut out of fair royalties when their music is played on over-the-air radio. Recording Academy secures Judy Collins, Sam Moore, Lyle Lovett and Recording Academy Chicago Chapter Board President Alice Peacock to testify before Congress about the issue.

Congress passes "GRAMMY Bill" House Concurrent Resolution 273. The bi-partisan resolution with more than 60 co-sponsors passed the House and Senate unanimously. The resolution recognized the achievements of The Recording Academy on its 50th anniversary.

GRAMMYs on the Hill Gospel Brunch is held on Capitol Hill to highlight the contributions of gospel music and urge passage of Gospel Music Heritage Month (which passed a week later).

GRAMMYs Rock the Conventions brings the message of music to the Democratic National Convention (Denver) and Republican National Convention (St. Paul). Daughtry, Everclear, and The Flobots headline the Denver event, while songwriters Alice Peacock, Joe Nichols, Brett James, and Jennifer Hanson performed in St. Paul.

Performance Rights Bill, championed by The Academy, passes out of House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property.

Recording Academy launches "Advocacy Amplified," a grassroots initiative to create meetings with Academy members and their legislators in the lawmakers' home offices.

Recording Academy and Recording Artists' Coalition announce historic alliance to join forces in the advancement of music creators' rights.

February 7, 2009: GRAMMY Town Hall in Los Angeles. The event was attended by Reps. Marsha Blackbun (R-TN), John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) as well as more than 300 members of the Recording Academy and music community.

March 3, 2009: MusicFirst Advocacy Day was held, as more than 40 Recording Academy members came to Washington for a day of grassroots advocacy. Academy members were divided into groups and spent the day visiting key members of Congress and legislative staff.

May 13, 2009: HR 848, the Performance Rights Act passes out of the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 21-9.

June 2009: Recording Academy and SoundExchange conclude discussions for streamlining digital broadcast performance royalties to producers. The discussions resulted in new procedures for ensuring efficient and accurate payment of royalties owed to producers through their contracts with artists.

August 2009: Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter Governor and GRAMMY-nominated musician Sheila E. testified in favor of terrestrial radio royalties for artists at Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Aug. 4. In addition to Sheila E., those who spoke on behalf of the musicFIRST Coalition included Bob Kimball, executive vice president, RealNetworks; Marian Leighton-Levy, co-founder, Rounder Records; Steve Newberry, joint board chairman, National Association of Broadcasters and president and CEO, Commonwealth Broadcasting Corporation; Ralph Oman, adjunct professor, the George Washington University Law School; and James L. Winston, executive director and general counsel, National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.

October 2009: The Performance Rights Act passes out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

April 14, 2010: Longtime supporter of artists' rights Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) signs on as co-sponsor of the Performance Rights Act hours before accepting his GRAMMYs on the Hill Award. Senate Majority Whip Durbin is the number two leader in the U.S. Senate.

April 15, 2010: While delivering her remarks at the 2010 GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expressed her support for the Performance Right Act for the first time in a public statement. Pelosi said, "In coming to Congress today, you are sending a message too often lost outside the recording studio, in the political debate, or on the airwaves — that ideas, music and imagination are as valuable as any material invention. And artists deserve to be compensated for their work and rewarded for their contributions to our economy and our culture."

June 24, 2010: The Recording Academy, in partnership with the American Association of Independent Music, coordinated Indie Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill on June 24. The lobby day, a follow-up to a GRAMMY Industry Roundtable in Los Angeles in January during GRAMMY Week, organized a delegation of 10 independent music leaders for a full day of introductory and fact-finding meetings. During meetings with Congress, the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the U.S. Small Business Administration, the group explored ways U.S. independent labels and artists can increase exports without the international footprint enjoyed by the majors.

September 17, 2010: The Recording Academy, along with other groups opposed to government censorship, filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, et al., Petitioners v. Entertainment Merchants Association, et al. on Sept. 17. The Academy joined a broad group of organizations, including the Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Freedom to Read Foundation, and other music organizations, including the National Association of Recording Merchandisers.

September 23, 2010: Following three years of advocacy, Academy members secured a victory on Sept. 23 when the Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted to protect wireless microphones in its reallocation of the "white spaces" of wireless spectrum. The order creates two dedicated channels in every market for the microphone uses and a national database that will allow wireless microphone users to register should they need more frequency. The Producers & Engineers Wing and Recording Academy's Advocacy & Government Relations office have been active on this issue since July 2007. Since then, the Wing and Advocacy office have lobbied Congress on the issue and filed documents with the FCC at crucial decision points. The campaign reached a peak in April when 250 Academy members from across the country came to Washington to lobby on the issue during GRAMMYs on the Hill.

October 25, 2010: After nearly a year of negotiations and congressional outreach, broadcast leadership for the first time in history voted in favor of a proposal that that would have radio pay artists for using their work. The National Association of Broadcasters' board of directors approved a term sheet that includes the royalty payment on Oct. 25. The musicFIRST Coalition, co-founded by The Recording Academy, officially rejected the terms, noting that it was a unilateral rewrite of the deal both parties struck after seven months of negotiations. However, the coalition recognized the significance of the vote, as did the radio trades with headlines including, "NAB Ready To Pay The Piper," "Radio Board Agrees To Pay Performers For Music," and "Broadcasters Prepared To Show Music Biz The Money."

January 26, 2011: GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins came to Washington, D.C., for a GRAMMYs on the Hill Musical Briefing. The briefing, the first music event in the new Congress, helped introduce The Recording Academy's Advocacy program to new legislators and their staff, welcomed back old friends, and relaunched the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus.

Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), Howard Coble (R-N.C.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), and Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) were on hand to help discuss the importance of pro-music legislative policy and to thank The Recording Academy for its work advancing creators' rights. 

Addressing the standing-room-only crowd, Loggins spoke about the role of music in his life and the importance of music education, and performed several of his hits. Media reporting on Capitol Hill widely covered the event. It was a great start to the new Congress and important for The Academy's message to be first "on the ground" in Washington. 

April 4, 2011: The first-ever recording session of the GRAMMY Congressional Band took place at Sirius XM Radio's studios in Washington, D.C., featuring Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), vocals/guitar; Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), keyboards; Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), drums; and Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), backing vocals/percussion. The band was joined by top producers and Academy Trustees Darrell Brown, Mike Clink and James McKinney. The final produced track was premiered at GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards to help demonstrate the role of the producer.

April 13, 2011: Eight-time GRAMMY-winning artist Don Henley is presented with the inaugural Recording Artists' Coalition Award at the GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards.

June 27, 2011: The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law that banned sales of violent video games to minors.

The video game law was first passed by the California State Legislature in 2005. It would have imposed a $1,000 fine on those who sold or rented a violent video game to someone under 18. Because the standard was vague, and the video game industry has a highly effective rating system in place, the law was overturned in 2007 on appeal. In November 2010 the Supreme Court heard arguments on the case, and last month agreed, 7–2, that the law should be overturned.

Because of mentions of "textual violence," The Recording Academy has been active on this issue given potential implications to song lyrics and joined the filing of an amicus brief with other First Amendment groups.

July 26, 2011: The first-ever advocacy day for record producers results in meetings with leading legislators and a standing-room-only panel discussion by the hit makers. The day is the culmination of a yearlong initiative to raise the Capitol Hill profile of record producers that included a GRAMMY Industry Roundtable in Los Angeles and a recording session in Washington, D.C., with leading producers and performances provided by musically talented members of Congress.

January 2012: The Recording Academy adds another in-house lobbyist to expand its reach on Capitol Hill and in statehouses across the country.

February 14, 2012: The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 is signed into law. The law includes a section that establishes uniformity and clarity for airline policies on carrying musical instruments on flights. The new law was passed after lobbying at GRAMMYs on the Hill by Academy members and its allies at the American Federation of Musicians, which had spent nearly a decade advocating for this issue.

June 5, 2012: First performance royalties are paid to artists by broadcast radio. After years of public pressure from The Recording Academy and the organization it co-founded, the musicFIRST Coalition, Big Machine Label Group and Clear Channel Communications announced a groundbreaking deal to pay Big Machine artists a percentage of revenue from terrestrial radio broadcasts. Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow called the deal "a step in the right direction," but emphasized that "until every broadcaster is paying all creators for their work, we will continue our efforts to secure an industry-wide legislative solution."

June 6, 2012: Academy testifies before Congress about creators' rights. Recording Academy New York Chapter Board member and jazz musician/composer Ben Allison testified on behalf of music creators at a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing on "The Future Of Audio." Allison provided a compelling argument for creator compensation and spotlighted the anomaly of terrestrial broadcasters' "free ride."

August 2012: Recording Academy launches "Give Fans The Credit" campaign to advocate for including songwriters, non-featured performers and studio professionals' information on digital music services. Nine high-profile ambassadors join the cause, which generates significant media attention and more than 12,000 fan signatures on the petition.

November 28, 2012: Recording Academy Chair Emeritus Jimmy Jam testifies before Congress. The legendary five-time GRAMMY-winning producer, songwriter and recording artist testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet at a hearing titled "Music Licensing Part One: Legislation In The 112th Congress." Jam spoke out against the Internet Radio Fairness Act, a bill that would cut artists royalties from digital radio, and he affirmed the need to establish performance rights on traditional radio. Jam was the only music creator invited to testify at the hearing. The hearing resulted in the defeat of the act in the 112th Congress.

February 26, 2013: The Recording Academy Texas Chapter conducts the first bi-annual GRAMMYs At The Texas Capitol  event in Austin, marking the first-ever regular Advocacy Day for Academy members held at a state capitol. Replicating the successful model of GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., approximately 30 participants met with state legislators to raise awareness of issues important to the Texas music community.

May 2013: Rhapsody becomes the first music service to adopt The Recording Academy's "Give Fans The Credit" standard for digital liner notes. The New York Times issues a report on the campaign and Rhapsody's initiative.

November 2013: Pandora abandons anti-artist legislation. A year after congressional testimony by Recording Academy Chair Emeritus Jimmy Jam and other music advocates made a powerful case against the so-called Internet Radio Fairness Act, Pandora officially ended its efforts on the legislation.

Jan.14, 2014: The New York Chapter hosts the first in a series of Recording Academy roundtables with music creators and Maria Pallante, the U.S. Register of Copyrights.  During this off-the-record discussion, Ms. Pallante, along with Associate Register Jacqueline Charlesworth, hears directly from songwriters, performers and studio professionals from the New York Chapter Board about how copyright law affects their livelihoods.  

Feb. 25, 2014: Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) introduces HR 4079, the Songwriter Equity Act, which proposes two updates to current copyright statutes that ensure royalties for the public performance and mechanical licensing of musical compositions are paid at a fair rate. The Recording Academy's involvement is key to the SEA rollout, and to its inclusion of proper protections for artists, producers and engineers. The Recording Academy's Daryl Friedman joined Collins at the press conference, along with ASCAP's Paul Williams and the heads of BMI and the National Music Publishers Association. "We are grateful to Representative Collins for supporting our songwriter members and appreciate his working with us to ensure that The Academy's performers and studio professionals are protected in the new bill,” states Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. “All music creators deserve to be paid fair market value for their talents."

March 13, 2014: Maria Schneider, GRAMMY-winning composer and member of the New York Chapter’s Board of Governors, testifies on behalf of the Academy at a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet on the notice and takedown provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  Maria is the only creator witness on a panel otherwise filled with corporate lawyers and law professors, and details her real-world experience of trying to protect her works from infringement online.

April 2 -3, 2014: A record turnout and strong press coverage marks the 2014 GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards. A packed house at The Hamilton sees GRAMMY winners Lady Antebellum honored with the Recording Artists Coalition Award, as well as recognition for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). The centerpiece of the evening is a policy speech by President/CEO Neil Portnow calling for unity within the music industry to achieve parity for all creators across all platforms, and a call for MusicBus legislation. Portnow’s speech is featured in an advance story in The New York Times, and in an editorial in Hill publication Roll Call. The next day, almost 200 Recording Academy members visit ed with 75 members of Congress on Advocacy Day.

June 10, 2014: Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, testifies before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet on the issue of music licensing. Mr. Portnow is the only one of seven witnesses to represent all music creators. Before his opening statement, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) pledges to draft the MusicBus bill Portnow first proposed at GRAMMYs on the Hill 2014. Portnow’s opening statement reiterates the need for omnibus legislation. The MusicBus concept is affirmed by other members of Congress during the hearing.

October 14, 2014: The first-ever GRAMMYs in My District grassroots lobbying campaign is launched. Through in-person meetings, as well as e-mails and phone calls, Recording Academy members let Congressional representatives in nearly 140 districts know that music creators are a vital part of their voting constituencies, and that legislators must take action on legislative issues that impact creators' livelihoods. An op/ed in Washington news outlet Roll Call, written by Daryl P. Friedman, Chief Advocacy & Industry Relations Officer of The Recording Academy, describes the key issues driving the GRAMMYs in My District campaign.

December 30, 2014: Thanks to diligent lobbying by Recording Academy members over several years, the Federal Aviation Administration finalizes consistent and clear rules for carrying musical instruments on airplanes across all airlines. The rules will go into effect on March 6. More information is here.

Jan. 13, 2015: The Recording Academy presents a Welcome 114th Congress event featuring GRAMMY nominees The Band Perry at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. Presented in cooperation with the Congressional Recording Arts & Sciences Caucus, the celebration attracted the largest turnout yet for an Academy event on The Hill, with more than 60 Members of Congress and congressional staffers on hand to see The Band Perry perform their hits and speak about their commitment to creators’ rights. The Perrys then meet privately with congressional leadership from both political parties to further discuss advocacy issues.

Feb. 8, 2015: The Recording Academy launches the GRAMMY Creators Alliance, a coalition of the nation's greatest songwriters, performers and studio professionals to serve as a powerful voice to advance pro-creator legislation. The GRAMMY Creators Alliance is announced on the 57th annual GRAMMY Awards telecast by Neil Portnow, CEO/President of The Recording Academy, with GRAMMY winners Jennifer Hudson and Ryan Tedder.

March 9, 2015: The Recording Academy creates a Managers Think Tank as part of the recently launched GRAMMY Creators Alliance. The Managers Think Tank includes some of the nation's most prominent talent and business managers to advise the Creators Alliance on issues impacting the music creator community.

March 19, 2015: The Allocation for Music Producers Act (H.R. 1457) is formally introduced by Congressmen Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.). The AMP Act would codify into law the producer’s right to collect the royalties they are due and formalize SoundExchange’s current, voluntary policy.