Bloss-Baum Pushes for Artists' Rights in Her New Public-Affairs Firm

Christopher Snow Hopkins

As lawmakers mulled legislation to safeguard the rights of performing artists in 2010, two musicians sat in the office of then-Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-Texas, hopeful that he would support the bill.

“This member was on the fence,” recalled Linda Bloss-Baum, who established her own public-affairs shop this month. “One of the musicians asked him what his favorite song was, and he said, ‘Yellow Rose of Texas.’

“They had never met each other before, but the two musicians looked at each other and did a duet of ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’ on the spot.”

Gonzalez ultimately demurred, but not before telling Bloss-Baum, “I was so moved by that moment that I’m trying to keep an open mind on this issue.”

The incident illustrates a dictum in Bloss-Baum’s profession: “It doesn’t matter how many white papers you produce or how many fundraisers you go to, it’s those moments that can make a difference.”

Her new firm, which will focus on promoting the rights of artists, “doesn’t fit neatly into any single box,” she said. “I started to feel like all those larger corporate interests that were well represented here in Washington were built on the creativity of artists.... I’m right smack-dab in the middle of my career, and I want to spend the second half on what I believe is the right thing to do.”

At the heart of Bloss-Baum’s desire to hang out her shingle is a sense that musicians have been excluded from the discussion of how to divvy up the fruits of their labors. “Most musicians don’t even know that they’re not getting paid,” she said. “They don’t even understand the basic parameters of how the debate got started, much less how it’s proceeding.”

The advent of Linda Bloss-Baum Creative Strategies coincides with a new push to update federal copyright law. On April 24, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., announced that his panel would reexamine the existing statutes at the urging of Maria Pallante, the register of copyrights.

A native of Philadelphia, Bloss-Baum was born into a “basic middle-class suburban family,” she said. Her mother was a Philadelphia County official, and her father worked for TV Guide magazine.

She came to Washington with the intention of becoming a journalist and studied communications at American University. After receiving a law degree and a certificate in communications law from Catholic University, Bloss-Baum served as an attorney on the House Energy and Commerce Committee under then-Chairmen Tom Bliley, R-Va., and Billy Tauzin, R-La.

After four years on the panel, Bloss-Baum left for Universal Studios Entertainment (which was acquired by NBC a year later and renamed NBC Universal). In 2009, she was named vice president of public policy and government relations and opened a Washington office on behalf of Warner Music Group.

The 44-year-old Bloss-Baum is married with two children and lives in Falls Church, Va. And on Friday nights, she sings in a band. Bloss-Baum may prefer a certain genre of music, but “I’ve learned from my music friends: Never say you have a favorite,” she said. Bloss-Baum listens to music compulsively. “Every moment of my spare time—and now my work time, I suppose—I’ve got music playing.”