Neil Portnow's 52nd GRAMMYs Telecast Remarks

Academy President/CEO celebrates the organization's recent milestones and looks ahead to a promising decade
  • Michael Caulfield
    Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow
January 31, 2010 -- 8:01 pm PST

As we begin a new decade, The Recording Academy has milestones to celebrate, and challenges that lie ahead.

But one thing that remains the same is the unwavering commitment of our music community in times of crisis. And once again, our talented artists are there to offer help and inspiration as the world mobilizes to help the people of Haiti.

At The Academy we're thankful for many milestones this year:

Our fantastic GRAMMY Museum is one year old and thanks to a generous donation from music icon Clive Davis, the Museum's state-of-the-art Sound Stage will now be known as the Clive Davis Theater.

The Latin GRAMMYs turned 10.

It's been 40 years for the GRAMMYs on the CBS Network.

10 years of the GRAMMYs working with Staples Center right here in Los Angeles.

20 years of great work from our GRAMMY Foundation.

And two decades ago, we created our MusiCares Foundation to help music people in their times of need.

Last Friday night, we honored the legendary Neil Young as MusiCares Person of the Year. And you know what happened? We raised over $4 million for those music people who need our help.

And The Academy honors one of our own as the creative force behind the GRAMMYs celebrates 30 years of presenting his inspired ideas and our one-of-a-kind GRAMMY moments like you’ve seen tonight. His love for music and the people who make it, combined with his passion and unmatched skill for creating some of the greatest music performances on television, make me proud to present him with a President's Merit Award. Congratulations to our Co-Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich.

And there's a man they call "the father of the GRAMMYs" who, sadly, we lost last year. His belief in the value of the GRAMMY Awards is largely responsible for us all being here tonight. We miss our dear friend, Pierre Cossette.

So many milestones, but what of the challenges in the decade ahead? Well, for starters, let's all pledge that 10 years from now when we look back we can say that this was the decade when every child received the benefit of music and the arts education in our public schools!

Now, what if someone told you they really appreciated your work but didn't think they should have to pay you for it anymore? What would you do? How would you pay your bills, support your family? How would you survive?

This evening, you've seen performances by the most successful artists today. And you know about their generosity and giving back. But standing right behind them are thousands of unknown and up-and-coming music makers who face the question of survival every day. In the coming decade, unless they can make a living at their craft, the quality and creativity of the music will be at risk.

Well tonight, we're all fans and music lovers who want to ensure that the future of music is a bright one. New technologies will bring music whenever and wherever you want it.

But as fans, let's all truly value the music and the songs that change our lives by supporting and compensating these gifted creators of the music we treasure. And together, let's make this next decade a time of renaissance for the music that plays as the soundtrack of our lives.


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