Monday, February 13, 2017
President Trump's political opponents in the music industry would like his help in at least one regard: The laws that govern who makes money off of music.
"The Recording Academy, together with America's music makers, call on the president and Congress to help keep the music playing by updating music laws, protecting music education, and renewing America's commitment to the arts," Neil Portnow, the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, said during the 2017 Grammy Awards Sunday night.
The appeal demonstrated how the business side of the music industry will have to grapple with the reality of Trump's victory, following an evening dotted with political attacks on Trump from the artists themselves. It was also a savvy attempt to use the spectacle of the Grammys as an opportunity to win grassroots political support for the artists' running fight with the radio companies who broadcast their music.
"What we need so desperately are more reminders of all that binds us together," Portnow said. "Behind the extraordinary artists you see here on our stage are hundreds and thousands of unsung musicians and songwriters, producers, engineers — American creators, whose jobs suffer from outdated rules and regulations, some going back 100 years."
The recording industry wants radio stations to be required to pay royalties to artists whose music is played on their stations. "Big radio corporations make billions of dollars from music but pay nothing to artists and producers," the GrammyPro website says. "Other provisions of copyright law force songwriters and performers to accept below market pay for their music."
Certain notes in Portnow's speech seemed, if not tailored to Trump, at least designed to have some appeal for him. "What we need so desperately are more reminders of all that binds us together," he said, "It's our collective responsibility to preserve what binds us and to ensure that the whole world continues to benefit from one of our most unique, economically and spiritually important assets and exports — American music."