Lumineers, Jordin Sparks, Ray Parker Jr. Talk Issues With U.S. Congressmen

Above: U.S. legislators met with musicians and managers before the Grammy's last week. Pictured here: Top row (from left): the Recording Academy’s Daryl Friedman, Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Grammy-winning songwriter Josh Kear, Grammy-winning producer Mark Bright, the Recording Academy’s Todd Dupler. Bottom row (from left): Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), singer Jordin Sparks with Shelby Wasserman Schultz, Reps. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Karen Bass (D-CA).

A bipartisan group of 11 U.S. legislators met with musicians and artist managers in Los Angeles before the Grammys last week. The annual briefings that precede the Grammy Awards gave representatives a chance to hear opinions about performance royalties, ticketing legislation and the wireless white space issue.

Joining representatives, artists and managers at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday (Feb. 9) were Jordin Sparks, songwriter Josh Kear and producer Mark Bright. The Sunday morning briefings at the Staples Center included the Lumineers, Copyright Alliance executive director Sandra Aistars, sound engineer Hank Neuberger.

“With nearly a dozen members of Congress and as many policy staffers, the briefings were an opportunity to get the music creator’s viewpoint heard early in the Congressional session," Daryl P. Friedman, the Recording Academy's Chief Advocacy & Industry Relations Officer, tells Billboard. "The new Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte was very engaged in the conversations and came away with an even better understanding of the issues facing the music community.”

Among those joining Rep. Goodlatte from Washington were Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. In attendance but not pictured were Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).

Songwriter Josh Kear (left, who won for Best Country Song) jams with the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX).

Friedman says the conversations with the representatives mostly, but didn't always, center around economic issues. Performance royalties were a key topic of discussion. Artists and managers focused on broadcast radio's lack of a performance royalty rather than some webcaster's desire for a difference performance royalty. Representatives also got a new understanding of even how successful producers have to find other revenue streams to make a living. "They got a better sense of how the compensation works," says Friedman.

On Sunday Representatives talked to the Lumineers about ticketing and ticket scalpers. Friedman says the band expressed its desire to have the option to sell tickets however they best get to the fans, including paperless. Representatives listened and asked questions, says Friedman. Ticketing legislation has not got to the national level but is currently being heard in some states.

Artist managers Ted Chung, David Corlew, Susan Markeim, Simon Renshaw, the Recording Academy’s Todd Dupler, David Meinert, the Recording Academy’s Daryl Friedman, Chairman Goodlatte, artist Ray Parker Jr., songwriters Darrell Brown and Brett James, managers Andrew Friedman, Beka Tischker, Fletcher Foster, Michael McDonald, Jordan Berliant and artist manager Tracy Gershon.