There’s a new artist-rights body in town – well, Washington D.C. is a bit bigger than a town – called the Music Artists Coalition (MAC for short). The new US lobbying organisation has some familiar names involved: veteran manager Irving Azoff appears to be the driving force behind it, while artists on board at launch include Anderson .Paak, Maren Morris, Dave Matthews, Meghan Trainor and Don Henley.
The message here is one of artists getting their own lobbying body to campaign for their rights. “Artists don’t really have a seat at any table,” Azoff told Bloomberg. “Just the fact that we have a powerful group of people will scare everyone else to the table.” The new group is a successor of sorts to the Recording Artists Coalition (RAC), founded in 2000 by Henley and Sheryl Crow, where Azoff was also a board member. In 2009, that body became part of the US Recording Academy.
The new MAC isn’t the first artist-rights body operating in the US, nor is it the only current one: it joins the Artist Rights Alliance (ARA, formerly the Content Creators Coalition) and the American Federation of Musicians union. There is also crossover with existing songwriter bodies in the US, as made clear by Henley’s statement to Billboard: “We are forming the Music Artists Coalition to ensure that there is an organisation whose sole mission is to protect the rights of music artists – performers and songwriters.”
The more the merrier, however, at a time when it’s never been more important for artists to have a prominent voice in the various debates around the modern music industry. Its intersection with technology in particular, as work continues on deciding how best to implement the Music Modernization Act in the US, and especially as we await the results of Spotify, Amazon, Google and Pandora’s appeal against recently-set new royalty rates for songwriters there. The latter is one of MAC’s first issues to get its teeth into, according to Bloomberg.