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Mixing music with politics: Recording Academy partners with the Recording Artists' Coalition

January 8, 2009 |  6:00 am

Grammy_image_2 The Recording Academy will pump up the volume in Washington by joining a political duet.

Best known for handing out the Grammy Awards, the academy stepped up its political pursuits a notch with the Wednesday announcement of an alliance with the Recording Artists' Coalition, a high-profile legislative advocacy effort founded by Don Henley and Sheryl Crow in 2000. The coalition has been a force on musician rights issues such as contract laws and trademark issues, and its elite membership of 150 recording artists includes Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Elton John and Tom Petty.

Academy President Neil Portnow, who has made political advocacy a linchpin of his six-year tenure, said the alliance will create "a unified effort," give the coalition more infrastructure resources and energize the academy presence on Capitol Hill. The coalition will fold into the academy's organization, but two of the coalition's board members, industry notables Irving Azoff and Simon Renshaw, will stay on as advisors

"It's a win-win for everyone. We have worked closely together in the past, and both organizations have a track record and reputation in Washington," Portnow said. "It makes sense now to move forward together. Our immediate concern is the fact that we have a new Congress; there's a lot of carry-over but also new people we need to reach out to and to make aware of our issues."

-Geoff Boucher

Photo credit: CBS