Recording Academy’s New PAC Embraces Members’ Star Power

An array of major music stars—particularly from the R&B sphere—are planning to help the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences launch a new political action committee it calls the Grammy Fund for Music Creators.

What do Babyface, Nile Rodgers, Anita Baker, Shelia E., Jimmy Jam, and Rodney Jerkins have in common?

Well, besides the fact that, collectively, they’d make a killer playlist for your next R&B mixtape, the artists and producers—all of whom have either been nominated for or won Grammy Awards over the years—are going to be active in some of the music industry’s newest lobbying efforts.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the Recording Academy), the industry group that puts on the Grammy Awards each winter (the latest edition takes place next week at the Staples Center in Los Angeles), is launching a new political action committee called the Grammy Fund for Music Creators.

The PAC came about after Recording Academy members asked the association’s chief advocacy and industry relations officer, Daryl P. Friedman, how they could become more involved in the association’s political efforts. In recent years, the association has worked to drive member involvement through initiatives such as Grammys in My District, an advocacy program that pushes for members to speak out at the local level.

The success of that program—which saw more than 1,650 members take part last October—helped set the stage for more member interest in advocacy initiatives, according to Friedman. Part of what’s driving that interest is the changing environment around royalties, particularly regarding streaming music.

“Changes in the way music is consumed, combined with an outdated patchwork of legislation governing the industry, have resulted in a landscape where many creators are overlooked and underpaid,” Friedman wrote in a blog post earlier this month. “Broadcasters, tech companies and other large corporations are pocketing the profits from music, while music creators don’t always receive fair compensation for their work.”

So where do the R&B icons come into play? The Grammy Fund, while making advocacy tools available to each of the association’s 25,000 members, will use each of the artists listed above (along with a couple of others) as fund ambassadors. The association has a goal of raising $100,000 for advocacy efforts in its first year—a decent chunk, but nowhere near the size of its opponents on these issues, such as Pandora and the National Association of Broadcasters. Friedman emphasizes that it hopes the industry’s star power can help make up for some of the financial limitations.

“We won’t be the largest PAC in Washington, but we will be the loudest,” Friedman told The New York Times.

Legendary and musician Nile Rodgers of Chic, who is taking part in the Recording Academy's efforts. (scannerFM/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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