Grammy Town Hall scheduled

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WASHINGTON -- The music industry's biggest event will take on a political tone as the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences plans its first Grammy Town Hall on the eve of the awards show.

The town hall event, set for Feb. 9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, will give musicians and executives a chance to meet with lawmakers as they begin to consider changes in the nation's laws on how the industry makes its money. The Grammy Awards take place the next night at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

"A lot of the industry will be at one place at one time, so it just made sense to do it before the show," NARAS advocacy and government relations vp Daryl Friedman said.

Friedman expects that a discussion about the performance royalty will dominate the town hall session. Lawmakers are considering legislation that could require over-the-air broadcasters to pay performers a royalty. Now, broadcasters pay a royalty to songwriters and publishers.

Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., and Mike McCaul, R-Texas, have committed to the event, Friedman said.

Other topics are likely to include revamping the royalty for copies of sound recordings, including those made by digital means, to songwriters and publishers.

Music publishers, the record labels and digital music distribution outlets have begun a three-way legal wrestling match over just how much songwriters and the publishing houses should get paid for digitally delivered music.

At issue before a panel of three copyright judges is the so-called "mechanical royalty" -- the payments made for copies of sound recordings, including those made by digital means

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