Recording Academy pres addresses D.C. function.
Recording Academy president Neil Portnow called on leading record producers and recording engineers last night (Sept. 6) to be frontline ambassadors working toward a truce between music and technology industries.
He urged the mutually-dependent industries to end their posturing, labeled by some as a collision over technology and intellectual property, which has resulted in litigation and divisiveness over legislation.
"We all know that the next five years will set in motion new policies and business models that will guide our industry for decades to come," Portnow said to the roughly-250 attending the Grammys on the Hill dinner in Washington, D.C. "The technology and music industries can continue the 'war,' with each playing a zero-sum game in which one side must win and one must lose. Or we can work together toward an environment in which we all can win."
Portnow spelled out a three-step plan to immediately implement his so-called music and technology truce.
First, he urged everyone to end the rhetoric. "How many times have you heard that we in the music community are 'anti-consumer' or 'anti-innovation?'" Portnow asked. "How many times have we accused technology companies of being 'anti-copyright' or of 'stealing our music?'" Agreeing to tone down the verbal divisiveness could go a long way toward resolving differences, he said.
Second, Portnow asked for more direct communication between members of the music and technology communities. He noted as a positive example the participation by the RIAA and the NMPA in sponsoring a legal downloading area at the consumer electronics show, where they found common ground with the Consumer Electronics Assn.
Portnow said the Recording Academy will be furthering this interaction by hosting industry leaders at a music and technology summit in the near future to encourage constructive dialogue.
Third, he urged the parties to include the voices of music creators in negotiations. "We all understand that copyright owners have the ultimate authority to negotiate on behalf of the music creators they represent," Portnow said, "but it will serve all our interests to ensure that artists and songwriters are informed of and included in those discussions" with broadcasters, satellite companies, technology companies and others.
Noting that members of the Recording Academy's Producers and Engineers Wing are often creators, copyright owners and technologists, Portnow said they are the perfect leaders to help bridge the gap between industries that are often on opposite sides of issues.
The speech came during a dinner event honoring Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) for their legislative efforts supporting the entertainment community. Also honored were Kelly Clarkson for her leadership role in the Academy's "What's the Download" educational efforts and Brooklyn Center High School in Minnesota for their extraordinary music programs, which have excelled despite being economically underserved.
Grammys on the Hill, attended by more than a dozen legislators plus their staffs, recording artists and industry leaders from around the country, capped the Recording Arts Day on Capitol Hill. During the day, members of a variety of music-based organizations including the Recording Academy, AFTRA, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, NARM, the Recording Artists Coalition and others met with legislators or their staffs to talk about their concerns. Grammy Award-winning producer Jimmy Jam also emceed a mock recording session earlier in the day to a crowd of about 150 gathering in a House of Representatives office building.