Music Companies Among Those Backing Away From Republicans Who Voted Against Election Certification

For the past week, a growing number of major corporations have been announcing that they will no longer donate to the Republican legislators who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election on Jan. 6. The major labels and the industry’s two most important trade organizations have joined them: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which represents the major labels, announced on Jan. 11 that it would not be “contributing to those who voted against the peaceful transition of power,” and National Music Publishers’ Association followed on Jan. 15.

“NMPA’s political action committee donates to those Members of Congress who support songwriters and the music publishers who represent them,” NMPA president and CEO David Israelite said in a statement released Monday (Jan. 18). “However, more importantly, we are committed to the rule of law and our democratic institutions. In light of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, we will be suspending indefinitely contributions to those who voted against the lawful certification of the Electoral College.”

All three major labels — Universal Music Group, Sony Music and Warner Music Group — told Billboard they would also no longer donate to the eight Republican senators and 139 Republican members of the House of Representatives who voted against certifying the election results. Other companies have said the same, both in technology and entertainment (Comcast, Disney, and AT&T) and in a variety of other businesses (American Express, Dow Chemical, and Walmart). Although the music business lobbies for its interests in Washington, its political influence is dwarfed by that of other industries — especially the online platforms that oppose it on copyright issues.

Although the entertainment business is generally identified with progressive causes, its companies and trade associations tend to donate to politicians from both parties, as most big companies do. In fact, over the past two decades, as Congress has grown increasingly divided, copyright has become one of the few bipartisan issues that draws support on both sides of the aisle. The Music Modernization Act was introduced by Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a progressive congressman who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, and Doug Collins (R-Ga.), a staunch conservative allied with President Trump, and eventually passed with bipartisan support. (Rep. Collins, who unsuccessfully ran for Senate, supported Trump’s efforts to undermine the presidential election in Georgia.)

It is unclear how long these policies will last — for any of the companies that have announced them.

The music business will still have connections on both sides of the aisle. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a supporter of music creators who has been a close ally of President Trump and said that she intended to vote against certification of the election, changed her mind after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who is now leading a copyright reform effort that could be important to the music business, announced early Jan. 6 that he would vote to certify the results of the election.