Music industry activists will take their message to Congress in Washington, D.C., this year during the Grammys on the Hill Awards and Advocacy Day, to be held on April 14 and April 15, respectively.

For the award presentation on April 14, two-time Grammy award winner Garth Brooks, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will be honored for their work in improving the environment for music creators. The event will take place at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel.

Past honorees have included then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Orrin Hatch, Congressman Steny Hoyer, the late Senator Ted Kennedy, two-time Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson and 27-time Grammy winner Quincy Jones.

On the following day, about 200 music professionals from across the United States will visit their legislators to advance pro-music policies that, led by the Recording Academy President Neil Portnow improve the environment for music and its makers.

While the music industry normally makes an annual trek to Capital Hill, last year the Grammys instead visited both the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

In the past, the annual industry lobbying push has had a broader mission: covering issues surrounding intellectual property. But "this year the scope is going to be much more narrow," Recording Academy VP of advocacy & government relations Daryl Friedman says.

"This year the focus will be on the performance rights legislation. It is so close and with this visit we will try to move it over the finish line this year. The [lawmakers] will hear from a couple of hundred of artists on the issue," Friedman continues.

The Performance Right Act, if passed, would require radio stations to pay a performance royalty to artists and record labels for the music they broadcast The National Assn. of Broadcasters have been aggressively fighting this legislation.

In past trips, Grammys on the Hill has been effective in getting Congress to advance important music policy after lobbying by music makers themselves, artists Sheila E. and Alice Peacock wrote in a joint-by-lined op-ed piece in the Sept. 9 issue of Billboard.

"Bills that would have allowed interference to wireless microphones were defeated after artists and recording engineers explained the threat to live concerts. Arts practitioners successfully lobbied to have $50 million of the stimulus bill allocated to the arts industry. And the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act enhanced copyright enforcement and created a cabinet-level 'copyright czar' position."

Victoria A. Espinel was named to fill that position of U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Office of Management and Budget. Friedman says he believes that the Grammys on the Hill helped get the Pro-IP Act moving through Congress. "It was being held up and out visit helped freed it up so that it could be voted on and passed," he said.

Friedman says the Grammy on the Hill initiative will also try to get across the message that the music industry is "not just about three cities (Los Angeles, New York and Nashville)."

"This is about grassroots and having music professionals from all over the country visit" their legislators. The music industry is spread out all across the country, he added.