At its core, music is about connecting. We've all experienced the connection between music fan and music maker. Those of us fortunate enough to work in this community also have witnessed unique and ma






Neil Portnow is president of the Recording Academy.






At its core, music is about connecting.

We've all experienced the connection between music fan and music maker. Those of us fortunate enough to work in this community also have witnessed unique and magical interactions -- singer and musician, performer and songwriter, producer/engineer and artist -- and other connections beyond the sight of the fan.

In this spirit, I ask for your help in creating another important connection -- one between music professionals and those who shape the policies under which we work and create.

If we belonged to most other industries, we already would have something that our own industry lacks: an annual grass-roots advocacy day in Washington, D.C. On any given day in the nation's capital, you will find organized groups of citizens from around the country meeting with members of Congress to promote their particular business interests and concerns.

And while many music organizations have been effective in bringing their members to D.C. for lobbying visits, what we've missed is a community-wide, annual presence in Washington to promote our unified message: that the recording arts and sciences are an essential contributor and vital element of our nation's culture and economy.

The Recording Academy, many other leading music organizations and the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus are working together to launch such an event this year. On Sept. 7, we will bring the inaugural Recording Arts Day to Washington on Capitol Hill, and I invite our industry's creative community and leadership to join us.

Recording Arts Day will consist of meetings with legislators and other policymakers, a lunchtime music event in the Capitol and an evening of "Grammys on the Hill" honoring our friends in Congress and the arts. Our hosts will be Rep. Mary Bono, R-Calif., and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. -- co-chairs of the RASCC -- along with a number of those legislators who continually work to advance the rights of the music community. Our goal is to thank these friends-and to make many more.

Now, some may wonder if such a unifying day is possible in an industry with many different sectors, each with varying (and sometimes conflicting) priorities. Current negotiations in music licensing for the digital age illustrate the real and challenging issues among music stakeholders.

But while there may be issues that sometimes divide us, there always will be many issues that unite us. We all can agree that our overriding mission is to provide the highest-quality music to the fan and consumer while securing fair compensation for those who create and distribute the music.

The recent positive and landmark Supreme Court decision in the MGM v. Grokster case is a perfect example of our combined strength in action. Many segments of our community filed amicus briefs, including the Recording Academy, which certainly had an impact on the court's thinking and opinion. And just last month, the leaders of nearly every music membership organization gathered for a first-ever summit to build consensus on our common issues. Clearly, the time is right to visit Congress -- as a formidable coalition dedicated to advancing the rights of the music community as a whole.

So I hope you will join us Sept. 7 and help create a new Washington tradition: an annual Recording Arts Day on Capitol Hill. For more information, please visit grammy.com/advocacy.

While other industries may have such activities to connect their constituents to Congress, none could do it with the harmony of a unified music community. After all, connecting is our business.