The Recording Academy announced Tuesday the creation of a political action committee to give creators another way to engage members of Congress. Called the Grammy Fund For Music, the political action committee (PAC), is another tool for the Academy and its members to influence legislation -- like the Fair Play, Fair Play Act and the Songwriter Equity Act -- that would make a large impact on money paid to rights owners, performing artists, songwriters, composers and producers.
"We expect it will [raise] $100,000 in the first year. That money can go to members of Congress that are fighting for our members," says Daryl Friedman, Chief Industry, Government & Member Relations Officer for The Recording Academy. Donations will be pooled and a committee of Academy members will decide how to distribute the funds. Only individuals, not corporations, are allowed to donate to PACs.
A group of Grammy fund "ambassadors," all of them active advocates on behalf of the Academy, will help raise awareness amongst Academy members. On the list of high-profile ambassadors are Anita Baker, Evan Bogart, Sheila E., Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Jimmy Jam, Rodney Jerkins, Harvey Mason Jr. and Nile Rodgers.
PACs are a commonly used way to influence Congress. The Recording Industry of America Political Action Committee has recently received donations from such record executives as Clive Davis and a number of Sony Music executives including CEO Doug Morris. ASCAP, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and SoundExchange have also used PACs to donate to members of Congress.
Organizations on the other side of the aisle also have PACs, including the National Association of Broadcasters, Comcast, iHeartMedia and Viacom. One reason organizations like the Academy or the RIAA would create a PAC is to combat the large amounts of money being donated by their opposition. In recent election cycles, the largest PACs of broadcasters received as much as 20 times the donations as the largest PAC representing music rights holders or creators.