The Academy Continues Evolution Of GRAMMY Awards Process
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Restructuring of GRAMMY Categories across all genres brings total number of Categories to be recognized at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2012 to 78
Dec 2, 2014 - 4:06 pm
In an effort to continuously evolve its GRAMMY Awards process, The Recording Academy announced today that it has restructured the GRAMMY Categories across all genres and Fields, bringing the total number of Categories to be recognized at the 54th GRAMMY Awards in 2012 to 78 (from 109). All Fields remain the same. The announcement was made this morning at The Academy's headquarters by President/CEO Neil Portnow, Academy Board Chair Emeritus and five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam and Vice President of Awards Bill Freimuth. Additionally, a minimum of 40 distinct artist entries will be required in each Category (up from 25). Detailed information on these and other recent changes may be found at www.grammy.com/announcement.
"Every year, we diligently examine our Awards structure to develop an overall guiding vision and ensure that it remains a balanced and viable process," said Portnow. "After careful and extensive review and analysis of all Categories and Fields, it was objectively determined that our GRAMMY Categories be restructured to the continued competition and prestige of the highest and only peer-recognized award in music. Our Board of Trustees continues to demonstrate its dedication to keeping The Recording Academy a pertinent and responsive organization in our dynamic music community."
For 53 years, The Recording Academy has recognized musical excellence with the GRAMMY Awards — the most prestigious and only peer-recognized award in music — and the awards have grown from 28 Categories in 1959 to awards in 109 Categories for the most recent 53rd GRAMMYs. This growth springs from a tradition of honoring specific genres and/or subgenres within a Field, and it has basically been approached one Category at a time without a current overall guiding vision and without consistency across the various genre Fields. In 2009 The Academy initiated a first-ever comprehensive evaluation of its Awards process, which led to a desire for change. A transformation of the entire Awards structure would ensure that all Fields would be treated with parity. Diligent research, careful analysis and thoughtful discussion of all Fields resulted in an overarching framework and a restructuring of Categories to 78, and ensures that every submission continues to have a home.
In addition to the restructuring of Categories, two rule changes have been established and four Fields have been renamed. It is now expected that each Category shall have at least 40 distinct artist entries, up from 25. If a Category receives between 25–39 entries, only three recordings would receive nominations that year. Should there be fewer than 25 entries in a Category, that Category would immediately go on hiatus for the current year — no award given — and entries would be screened into the next most logical Category. If a Category receives fewer than 25 entries for three consecutive years, the Category would be discontinued, and submissions would be entered in the next most appropriate Category.
The second rule change is regarding voting. Previously, voting members were allowed to vote in up to nine genre Fields plus the General Field on the first ballot and eight genre Fields plus the General Field on the second ballot, including every Category within each chosen Field. Now, on each ballot, voters may vote in up to 20 Categories in the genre Fields plus the four Categories of the General Field — which includes Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist.
Additionally, there are name changes to four Fields: Musical Show is now Musical Theater; the Film/Television/Other Visual Media Field is now called Music For Visual Media; the Gospel Field has been renamed the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field; and the Dance Field has been renamed the Dance/Electronica Field.
The Awards restructuring proposal was presented by The Recording Academy's Awards & Nominations Committee — comprised of elected Academy leaders from across the country representing various genres of the music community — and was voted on and passed by The Academy's Board of Trustees — made up of musicians, producers, engineers, songwriters, and other music professionals. The A&N Committee spent more than a year reviewing, analyzing and evaluating the GRAMMY Awards process and Categories with great objectivity and fair-mindedness, before presenting its recommendations to the Board of Trustees for ratification. While at times incredibly challenging for each member of the committee to restructure Categories in their own respective genres, the greater purpose of promoting unity within the music community and ensuring that all Fields be treated with parity outweighed natural inclinations to resist change.
The Recording Academy Extends Neil Portnow's Contract
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Academy President/CEO Portnow to remain at the helm of The Academy through 2015
Dec 2, 2014 - 4:06 pm
The Board of Trustees of The Recording Academy has extended President/CEO Neil Portnow's contract through 2015, it was announced today by Chair of the Board George J. Flanigen IV. At its semiannual meeting in November 2010, the Board voted unanimously to keep Portnow at the helm of The Academy for four more years.
"Neil's extensive experience and relationships across all aspects of the music and entertainment business combined with his collaborative, inclusive spirit are just a few of the qualities that make him an exceptional leader," said Flanigen. "As a member and volunteer elected leader of The Academy for more than 25 years, and as a musician himself, he has an innate understanding of the needs of our constituents and how best to serve them — especially in an ever-evolving industry. He continues to innovate and expand the scope of programs, events and services we offer regionally, nationally and internationally, always advancing The Academy's profile and mission and always with its best interests at heart. Neil's vision, humility, compassion, and creativity have served the organization well and I, along with our Board, look forward to continuing to work alongside him."
"It is truly an honor and a privilege to have the continued confidence and support of our Board in steering and guiding this remarkable organization," said Portnow. "Along with our extraordinary staff and elected leaders from across the country, we will continue to raise the bar on the level of excellence and achievement that can be attained by our Academy with a spirit of collaboration, diligence and innovation on behalf of and for the betterment of our creative community, both domestically and globally."
Portnow has served The Academy as a volunteer leader in a variety of roles, both locally and nationally, for more than 25 years. He began his career as a musician/producer/publisher. He previously served as senior vice president of West Coast operations for the Zomba Group of Companies, including Jive Records and Zomba Music Publishing, responsible for the overall vision and direction of Zomba's businesses on the West Coast, including sales and marketing, corporate and talent acquisitions, and management of all of Zomba's creative talent, the film and television music division, Zomba Music Services, Segue Music, and Ingenuity Entertainment. Prior to Zomba, he was vice president of A&R at EMI America Records; vice president/general manager, West Coast at Arista Records; and president, 20th Century Fox Records. In 2003 he was honored with City of Hope's Spirit of Life award, the highest philanthropic honor bestowed upon an individual by the world-renowned cancer treatment and research center. He has a bachelor of arts in communications from George Washington University.
Portnow became President of The Academy in December 2002, and was promoted to President/CEO in September 2007. In addition to being President/CEO of The Academy, Portnow is President/CEO of MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation, as well as Chair of the Board of the GRAMMY Museum. He will continue to serve as the lead executive of The Recording Academy, working closely with the Board of Trustees and its Chair, as well as The Academy's senior management team to advance the organization's goals and purpose, including the creative and strategic vision and the operations of The Academy and its related entities (the GRAMMY Awards, the Latin GRAMMY Awards, The Latin Recording Academy, MusiCares, the GRAMMY Foundation, the GRAMMY Museum, the Producers & Engineers Wing, and other programs).
Additionally, he will continue to represent The Academy to its many constituents and partners; serve as a trusted and important industry leader on issues relating to the music industry, including participation in national caucuses, seminars and similar events, and provide service and counsel to key domestic and international industry-related organizations. In keeping with The Academy's position as an advocate for its constituents, Portnow will develop and manage strategic advocacy positions at the national, state and local levels — both governmental and within music and its related industries.
Accomplishments under his leadership for the past three-and-a-half years include:
A consistent and significant increase in ratings for the annual GRAMMY Awards telecast. Last year's 35 percent increase in viewership was the highest year-over-year increase since the invention of people meters in the late '80s, and this year's increase brought the show its largest viewing audience in more than a decade
Development of "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night" as a new TV property, helping raise awareness for the GRAMMY nominations and drive viewership toward the GRAMMY telecast
Establishing The Academy's first-ever Digital Media department, which has produced GRAMMY Live (72 hours of live coverage on GRAMMY.com leading up to the GRAMMY Awards telecast), and developed GRAMMY365 (a site dedicated to Academy members), among other online and digital initiatives and enhancements
Groundbreaking and innovative social media efforts across The Academy's official accounts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, engaging music fans year-round
Creating an online listening function allowing Academy voting members the ability to review nominated music
Significantly increased attendance at the Pre-Telecast Ceremony, as well as streaming the event live on GRAMMY.com, which garnered a year-over-year increase in viewership
A record number of entries in the Awards process this past year, consistently high membership numbers, and redesigning the staff and operational structure of The Academy
The grand opening of the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live in December 2008, in partnership with AEG, and its immediate success within the music industry and with music fans from around the world. Most recently, the Museum has collaborated with Muzak in the discovery of more than 20,000 never-released recordings from the '30s, '40s and '50s from notable artists such as the Carter Family, Rosemary Clooney, Louis Prima, and Fats Waller, among others.
Creation of the MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief Fund in response to the floods that unexpectedly hit Nashville in May 2010, providing assistance and support to music people in need within 48–72 hours covering the most immediate and basic needs. Additionally, other music industry friends and partners joined MusiCares' flood relief efforts, including Guitar Center, Music Rising, the Gibson Foundation, and the Academy of Country Music's charitable foundation, Lifting Lives, as well as artists such as Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban, among many others. The fund has raised more than $1 million and assisted more than 300 people to date.
Expansion of the GRAMMY Foundation's GRAMMY Camp program to New York in 2011. Now in its seventh year, GRAMMY Camp is a 10-day interactive residential summer music experience for music students that focuses on all aspects of commercial music
International expansion and outreach, including a partnership with China's Beijing Music Festival Arts Foundation, which will focus on developing GRAMMY-branded music education and entertainment programs in China, and The Academy's first international GRAMMY-branded event in Mexico City with GRAMMY Artists Revealed featuring Alejandro Fernández in September 2010. Additionally, the GRAMMY Awards telecast is now broadcast worldwide in a record 193 countries
Establishing a strategic alliance with the Recording Artists' Coalition that combines the efforts of both organizations to amplify artists' rights on Capitol Hill, with RAC becoming an integral part of The Academy's GRAMMYs on the Hill initiative, which advances the rights of music creators through advocacy, education and dialogue. The Eagles' Don Henley will be the recipient of the inaugural Recording Artists' Coalition Award at the upcoming GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards on April 13 in Washington, D.C.
Launching the MusiCares 20th Anniversary Campaign with an initial overall fundraising goal of $15 million, further ensuring music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need. More than $11.1 million has been raised in the first year, thanks to a $5 million matching gift from Clive Calder and the ELMA Music Foundation, and a significant gift from Olivia Harrison and the Material World Foundation
Moving the organization to its new national headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., built out to LEED's Gold environmental certification, and ensuring an appropriate and welcome home for decades to come
Since Portnow became President of the organization in 2002, he has identified and developed the Four Pillars of the organization — Membership/Awards, Music Education, Philanthropy & Charity, and Advocacy. His accomplishments in these and other areas have included:
Extension of the organization's mission and brand identity into the marketplace with the creation of The Academy's first-ever marketing department, which has developed a record-level of corporate sponsorships and partnerships, redesigned and introduced a new corporate logo, and initiated and developed a highly successful partnership with advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day, which has created award-winning ad campaigns since the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2008
Thirteen Emmy nominations and five wins for the annual GRAMMY Awards telecast
Collaborating with major record labels on the successful annual GRAMMY nominees album releases, which have enjoyed record sales and chart positions with a portion of proceeds benefiting MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation
Membership/Awards accomplishments include:
Revitalizing and expanding The Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, as well as local Recording Academy Chapter activities and events
Launching the GRAMMY University Network, created to give music students and students interested in a career in music access to programs, panels, performance opportunities, leaders in the music industry, as well as other benefits, currently with a membership of more than 4,000
Music Education accomplishments include:
Developing and enhancing GRAMMY Camp, along with other GRAMMY in the Schools programs, including GRAMMY Signature Schools, GRAMMY Career Day and GRAMMY SoundChecks, as well as the Entertainment Law Initiative and the Starry Night gala fundraiser
Philanthropy & Charity accomplishments include:
Acquiring the Musicians Assistance Program and merging its services with those of MusiCares, providing even greater resources to aid musicians in need of financial, medical and critical assistance, as well as addiction recovery services
Establishing the MusiCares Hurricane Relief Fund with an initial $1 million commitment within days of Hurricane Katrina, providing immediate and crucial assistance to music industry professionals in the Gulf Coast region impacted by the disaster. The fund has provided more than $4 million in financial assistance to nearly 4,000 individuals directly affected by the disasters
Achieving record-breaking attendance and revenues for the annual MusiCares Person of the Year gala and MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert
Advocacy accomplishments include:
Establishing an Advocacy & Government Relations department and dramatically increasing the organization's advocacy outreach by utilizing the organization's resources to advance the rights of artists through advocacy, education and dialogue; hiring a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., to assist with legislative initiatives and lobbying efforts; and hosting GRAMMY Town Hall and GRAMMY Industry Roundtable meetings — a series of high-level discussions with music industry leaders tackling important issues and the industry's most challenging topics
Creating a GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day as a companion to the GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards event, both of which represent the most significant and unified music industry presence in Washington, D.C.
Developing and implementing the first-ever CEO Summit meeting, which continues to be a semiannual gathering that includes leadership representation from every music industry organization, resulting in new, unprecedented cooperation and collaboration between the various creative and business constituencies
The Recording Academy Announces National Officer Election Results
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Nashville-based music video director/producer George J. Flanigen IV re-elected Academy Chair
Dec 2, 2014 - 4:06 pm
The Recording Academy recently held its spring Board of Trustees meeting in Los Angeles, during which elections for its National Officers were conducted. Award-winning music video director/producer George J. Flanigen IV from Nashville was re-elected to a second term as Chair; recording artist Christine Albert from Texas was elected Vice Chair; Pacific Northwest-based engineer/producer Glenn Lorbecki continues for a second term as Secretary/Treasurer; and five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam from Los Angeles was re-elected for a second term as Chair Emeritus. Additionally, the Board reaffirmed its commitment to the recently announced restructuring of the GRAMMY Awards with 78 categories to be presented at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012.
"Through the election of our experienced and credible National Officers, we will continue our mission of keeping The Recording Academy a premier organization within our vibrant music community," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "I look forward to working closely with this diverse and talented team of music professionals to continue steering The Academy and the GRAMMY Awards to new heights."
The Board approved the budget for fiscal year 2011–2012 and the previously announced new landmark contract with CBS (for the continued broadcast of the annual GRAMMY Awards, the GRAMMY nominations special and a series of new two-hour specials), as well as discussed various programs and initiatives for the coming year.
Nominations for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards once again will be announced as part of "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night," a one-hour special that sets the stage for the annual GRAMMY Awards telecast with nominations in several categories and performances by past GRAMMY winners and/or nominees. This year's special will be broadcast live Nov. 30 on CBS.
Additionally, the recently announced realignment of The Academy's GRAMMY Awards categories received full support for its implementation as planned for the upcoming 54th awards season. Examination of the GRAMMY Awards structure is a fluid process requiring continuous review, and this procedure has been in place for more than 50 years and includes input from elected, qualified voting members from The Recording Academy's 12 Chapters around the country and a broad spectrum of music makers. It takes place annually to assure that the competition is fair and consistent across all musical genres.
The submissions process for the 54th GRAMMY Awards began on July 6, and will be followed by various Academy Screening Committee meetings later this year. For detailed information on the awards restructure and important dates/deadlines, please visit www.grammy.org/announcement.
The Trustees of The Recording Academy, along with Academy senior staff, Chapter Regional Directors, Executive Directors, and Chapter Presidents — fiduciaries of the not-for-profit organization — met May 24–27 in Los Angeles to discuss goals, set priorities and implement policies designed to strategically chart the course of The Academy and its affiliate corporations.
The Recording Academy, CBS Announce 10-Year Deal For The GRAMMY Awards
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New agreement to keep Music's Biggest Night on CBS through 2021, beginning with the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012
Dec 2, 2014 - 4:06 pm
The Recording Academy and CBS announced today a new 10-year deal that will keep Music's Biggest Night, the annual GRAMMY Awards broadcast, on CBS through 2021. The new agreement further extends one of the longest broadcast partnerships in television history with CBS being the broadcast home of the GRAMMY Awards since 1973. The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place live on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, at Staples Center in Los Angeles from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).
"We are so pleased to continue our longstanding partnership with our friends at CBS, which has grown beyond our signature GRAMMY Awards event," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "We have consistently collaborated to ensure that a dynamic, fresh and diverse live telecast is presented, and we are proud of the collective growth and results we have achieved. In recent years, we have worked diligently to develop new GRAMMY programming that celebrates music throughout the year and now, with many more nights of great music and television ahead of us, we look forward to continuing to expand our brand and partnership."
"We are excited to be the home of the GRAMMYs for another decade and to continue our long and mutually beneficial partnership with The Recording Academy," said Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive officer, CBS Corporation. "The long-term structure of this deal will provide even greater continuity with marketing and sales opportunities for both organizations for an event that continues to grow in size and scope — both culturally and commercially."
"CBS and the GRAMMYs continue to be a partnership of two great brands combining to create one of television's most celebrated nights," said Nina Tassler, president, CBS Entertainment. "It is an event that has become an entertainment force in generating audience, social media conversation and music sales."
In addition to the annual awards telecast, the 10-year agreement also includes the continued annual broadcast of "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night," a one-hour special that sets the stage for the annual GRAMMY Awards telecast with nominations in several categories and performances by past GRAMMY winners and/or nominees. This year's special will be broadcast live in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Nov. 30. This marks the fourth consecutive year that nominations for the annual GRAMMY Awards will be announced live on primetime television.
The new agreement also includes the addition of a new two-hour series of GRAMMY specials, details of which will be announced in the future.
The GRAMMY Awards broadcast is one of television's major events, ranking as one of the highest-rated and most-watched specials, especially among younger viewers. Ratings for the GRAMMY Awards have soared over the last several years. The broadcast of the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards attracted 26.7 million viewers, its largest audience since 2000. In key demographics, the broadcast averaged 10.8/26 in adults 25–54, 10.0/27 in adults 18–49 and 9.5/28 in adults 18–34, its best deliveries in these ratings measures since 2004. CBS Research estimated that more than 61 million viewers watched all or part of the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards.
In 2010 the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards delivered 25.87 million viewers, 10.6/24 in adults 25–54, 9.9/24 in adults 18–49, and 9.1/24 in adults 18–34, which marked the best ratings in these key demographic categories since 2004.
For the latest updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Facebook and Twitter.
If your idea of Pro Tools is a digital multitrack system and not a high-end Black & Decker drill, then you needed to be at Catch A Fire, The Recording Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing event on Jan. 27.
The event recognized the critical contributions made by the creative technical talent behind recordings, and in particular honored one of the greatest of them all, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. Chris and Island gave us music from the likes of Grace Jones, Bob Marley, Roxy Music, Cat Stevens, Toots & The Maytals, U2, and Steve Winwood, among others.
The P&E Wing soiree was held at the Village Recording Studios in West Los Angeles. The Village is an amazing place — a former Masonic temple where classics from Fleetwood Mac's Tusk to John Mayer's Continuum were recorded. Owner Jeff Greenberg's attention to detail is what makes it such a killer place for musical creativity. And the creative talent was out in abundance. Honorary event chairs/producers Jimmy Jam and Daniel Lanois, Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow, and three-time GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams, 27-time GRAMMY winner Quincy Jones, singer/songwriter Jackson Browne were among the throng that boogied to the beat of KCRW music director Jason Bentley, who manned the turntables for the evening.
The guest of honor was preceded on stage by heartfelt paeans from P&E Wing Sr. Executive Director Maureen Droney, who said Blackwell exemplified a true "commitment to excellence." Academy Chair Emeritus and GRAMMY-winning producer Jam, diamond stud glittering in his left earlobe, introduced Lanois, who with vocalist Trixie Whitley, serenaded Blackwell with an original song called "Surely You Were Meant To Be Mine."
In front of projections of classic Island Records album covers from Stevie Winwood, Bob Marley and Roxy Music, Blackwell said unabashedly, "I was a borderline groupie — my favorite time was in the studio. I love the fact that you can spend a week on a record that runs three minutes and 22 seconds."
GRAMMY-winning producer/engineer/mixer Ed Cherney (Bonnie Raitt, the Rolling Stones) added context to the event: "A decade ago, me, Elliot Scheiner, Phil Ramone, Al Schmitt, George Massenburg, Chuck Ainlay, and others put together the Music Producers Guild. We brought our 400 members to The Academy and it became the P&E Wing, now with 6,800 members. Tonight is a celebration of all the unsung heroes who make sure that the magic of music gets captured."
(To view photos from Catch A Fire and other GRAMMY Week events, click here.)