This has been a big year for political advocacy. Millions throughout the nation gathered and rallied for a variety of social causes. And, as we approach election day tomorrow (Nov. 6), we’ve seen the clarion calls on social media and television, encouraging every American to #GetUpAndVote, an initiative by Linda Perry and John Legend that the Recording Academy is proud to support.
If this past year taught us one thing, it’s that advocacy works. When music creators speak out, change can happen.
We saw the success of advocacy with the recent passage of the Music Modernization Act. Through a culmination of four years of tireless advocacy, producers will be included in copyright law for the first time, pre-1972 artists will get the compensation they deserve from digital services and songwriters will receive fairer compensation.
On Oct. 24, more than 1,500 music creators united again across the country as part of the Recording Academy’s annual District Advocate day. They met with their members of Congress and Congressional candidates in nearly every state. The purpose was twofold: to thank those that supported the Music Modernization Act and saw it through to becoming law; and to reinforce the fact that music creators live, work and vote in every city. From Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s office in Seattle, to Rep. French Hill’s office in Little Rock, Ark., to nearly 300 advocates coming together for a rally in Miami, music advocates blanketed the country from coast to coast.
Music’s voice deserves to be heard and respected. As co-chairs of the Recording Academy’s National Advocacy Committee, it is our mission to ensure that.
While we continue to celebrate the historic victory of the Music Modernization Act and prepare for its implementation, we know that there will always be work to be done. We need to protect funding for the NEA and music education. We need to protect music creators as a part of ongoing international trade agreements. We need to ensure independent creators have an efficient means to enforce copyright. We need to resolve the long-standing FM radio performance rights issue. These are the issues that our District Advocates began lobbying for.
Music voters have power. Power in advocacy and power at the ballot box. Like any election, there are many issues at stake and many reasons to vote. That’s why it’s important to demonstrate the power of music voters. When we speak, our fans listen, Congress listens. We hope you will #GetUpAndVote tomorrow and share that political advocacy on social media.
Thank you for demonstrating to policy makers that music makers live, work, and most of all vote, in every district in the country.
Mindi Abair and Harvey Mason Jr. are co-chairs of the Recording Academy’s National Advocacy Committee.