After the Grammys had announced their final award, handing over the honor of Record of the Year to Sam Smith for "Stay With Me," there was an announcement made about a new organization being created by the Grammys and a small bunch of superstar artists, songwriters and producers. Current head of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Neil Portnow introduced the group, titled the Grammy Creators Alliance, with Jennifer Hudson and Ryan Tedder and delivered their mission statement on air.
The group, which boasts members like deadmau5, Adam Levine, Steve Tyler, Dr. Luke, Alicia Keys, Lady Antelbellum and others has been created as the new Republican-led congress gets set to review copyright laws pertaining to the arts, notably in music the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act), which has not had a substantial update since it was first enacted in 1998. As you might imagine with the advent of streaming and the rise of digital downloads, it is in desperate need of an update.
The Alliance promises to work for all artists as it claims on their newly minted section of the Grammys website, The GRAMMY Creators Alliance has been established to help today's leading artists, songwriters and studio professionals be a powerful voice in shaping music's future."
Portnow echoed the immediacy of their mission last night during the broadcast, proclaiming rather alarmingly (via The Verge), "What if we're all watching the Grammys a few years from now," he said, "and there's no Best New Artist award because there aren't enough talented artists and songwriters who are actually able to make a living from their craft?"
The main mission of the Alliance is to get artists paid fairly in the new environment of streaming. This comes as their is increasing hostility between giants like Spotify, Soundcloud and Pandora and artists who have shown that their payouts on millions of streams is nothing compared to a digital download.
The Alliance is right in its idea to try and get those who are the most vulnerable, the songwriters, producers, engineers etc., a proper cut of the deal, but it should not apply its old model of a bloated CD-based sales revenue stream to try and squeeze out the streaming services just to try and get an extra buck or two for some Nashville songwriters. The streaming services are not only sources of growing revenue for artists and labels, who bring in the largest percentage of revenue, but also a hugely important discovery platform that gives small artists a chance to get their break where they wouldn't have a chance to sniff big time 30 years ago.