WASHINGTON - Twisted Sister front-man Dee Snider and Grammy-winning songwriter Harvey Mason, Jr. are in D.C. for 'Grammys on the Hill,' an annual event where artists and lawmakers gather to push for rights of musicians.
They joined us to talk music and the 'business'of music.
Both Snider and Mason know the ins and outs of the music industry. Both have had long careers and have performed as, and worked with, some of the industry's best. "There is so much change in the industry, Mason said, we've got a lot to talk about."
Mason said that this week's event, which will draw around 500 members of the Recording Academy, will discuss fair pay for artists, songwriters, and producers.
Snider hasn't been back to Washington, D.C. since his famous speech in 1985 during the Parents Music Resource Center Senate hearing.
"I thought censorship was our biggest problem until I lost everything in the '90's and I realized the bigger problem was not being paid fairly for the work we do," he said. "They thought they were going to make an example out of me and I'd be a fool," Snider said about the hearing. "But see kids, don't drink, don't do drugs, and you can speak English fluently."
PAY TO PLAY
"When I realized I wasn't even being paid for all of those tens of thousands of plays of my music on the radio and on MTV - not one penny - that's holy unjust," he said. Snider said today's fight is for not only past artists, but for current and future artists.
"The laws that are on the books were established, 50, 60, 70 years ago and times have changed," Mason said. "Kids are making music on their laptops, on their phones, web sites and streaming services. We really need to adjust kind of the laws, and also, the public perception as to how music our music is being consumed. It's really not fair."
For example, Mason said, the income from the most streamed song of the year would only amount to about $17,000 - which is minimum wage. He fears that because of that ay scale, the next generation of musicians will not be able to make music as their profession - turning it into a hobby - and bringing the quality of music down.
"It's tougher now for a musician to make money than it's ever been. So now it's more important than ever that radio start paying their fair share. They're playing our music. They make their money for from our music. Why shouldn't we get some of the revenues?" Snider added.
So if Dee Snider could perform with any artist today - who would it be? "Gaga," he said, talking about performer Lady Gaga. "Well, she stole my look," he said to laughs. "The least she could do is do a duet with me. The chick's stealing my look. Christina Aguilera. Sarah Jessica Parker. What's going on? They owe me royalties - that's my next fight!"
And would he show up for grandparent's day at his grandkid's school? You bet! "Coolest. Grandfather. Ever!" he said.
To find aout more about 'Grammys on the Hill,' click here: https://www.grammy.org/recording-academy/advocacy