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Recording Academy Advances New Membership Model, Inviting This Year's Class
Membership VP Laura Segura Mueller on how the Academy is "committing to fostering diversity and inclusion while encouraging the music industry to reexamine and reinvent their own long-standing practices"
Over 1,300 highly-qualified music professionals from wide-ranging backgrounds, genres and disciplines woke up to good news this morning, as the Recording Academy begins extending membership invitations to its new class today. This monumental moment signifies a profound shift not only for the careers of the hand-picked music makers, but for the music industry in general.
Last November, the Academy revolutionized its new member submission process for the first time in over 60 years, implementing a community-driven membership model. Today, a new class of highly accomplished music professionals, recommended by their peers, receive an invitation to join the Recording Academy. We spoke with Laura Segura Mueller, Vice President of Membership & Industry Relations at the Recording Academy to gain some insight on this important step forward.
"The Recording Academy is honored to announce our inaugural membership class of 1340 qualified music creators and business professionals. The 2019 class is comprised of music creators and professionals from across the music industry and their talents and backgrounds span many genres, crafts, ethnicities, genders, ages, locations and professions. As a result of meaningful recent changes to our member recruitment process, the class is more representative of the diverse voices, modes of expression, and excellence within the music industry, as compared to the data reported in the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative studies released in 2018 and 2019."
The Annenberg studies revealed a very lopsided gender breakdown, reporting that across the Billboard chart data sources, women only account for 21.7 percent of artists, 12.3 percent of songwriters, and 2.1 percent of producers. These figures stunned much of the music industry and provide a stark backdrop for the Recording Academy's inaugural class.
Looking at the numbers, 49 percent of the Recording Academy class are females, 41 percent are from traditionally underrepresented communities, and 51 percent are 39 and under. The Recording Academy's current membership is 26 percent females, 24 percent traditionally underrepresented communities and 29 percent are 39 and under. While the improvement is clear, the work is just beginning.
2019 MEMBER CLASS STATS
"When you compare these figures to what was reported in the 2019 Annenberg study, it’s clear that our new member class shows a marked improvement," said Segura Mueller. "We are deeply committed continuing this positive trend for years to come."
"With such dire statistics industry-wide, we will face challenges with future new member classes if not enough women and people of color are being hired, mentored, and have access to opportunities to lead and excel. The industry-wide change we need will only be achieved when new voices are encouraged to rise through the ranks," she said, emphasizing the need for partnership with the industry as a whole.
Last year marked the start of a series of turning points for both the Recording Academy and the music industry. As both began to take a closer look at itself, the picture of diversity and inclusion in today's music world snapped into focus, revealing a fundamental imbalance.
In response, the Recording Academy and committed industry leaders took action, organizing a Task Force chaired by Tina Tchen to examine and better understand the barriers and biases affecting underrepresented voices in the music industry and Academy, including women and people of color.
this made my entire week, i’m officially a @RecordingAcad voting member. i always believed if you wanted to make a change you had to go about it the right way | #GRAMMYs | #WeAreMusic | #GODISTHEGREATEST | #PlatterBoyz pic.twitter.com/LnY0Xuvkcc— Poppa Foster (@BassmanFoster) June 4, 2019
Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow reflects, “I thank Tina and all of the participants for their hard work and follow through on the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. The task force was key in reviewing and helping us get this new member model off the ground after many years of internal development. It is through an industry-wide dedication on this scale that we see true transformation.”
Ultimately, the move to a yearly membership model cycle, creates a unique opportunity to celebrate the talented individuals who make up the music community and recognize the creative endeavors that enable it to thrive. The new model also more closely reflects the peer-driven process behind the GRAMMY Awards, as Kelley Purcell, Senior Director of Member Outreach points out.
"Membership is the lifeblood of the Recording Academy and a privilege we strive to uphold," says Purcell. "This evolved model puts the power in the hands of music professionals to recommend who among their peers they think should be a member and will help ensure the Academy represents the breadth and depth of talent synonymous with the recording industry. The GRAMMY Awards are already renowned for being a peer-awarded honor, and now our membership model also reinforces that peer-driven commitment to excellence."
The class of invitees will have until voting ballot deadlines to accept their invitation and participate in the 62nd GRAMMY Awards, set to take place Jan 26, 2020 in Los Angeles.
Our new peer-driven membership model is just one more way that the Recording Academy is evolving while also encouraging other industry companies to reinvent their own long-standing practices," said Segura Mueller. "We are nurturing a more inclusive organization for our members today and for generations to come."
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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors
Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it
Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.
McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award.
The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.
"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."
With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.
Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.
Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville
Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.
Championships – Meek Mill
In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
i am > i was – 21 Savage
Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.
IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.
The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae
Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.
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Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour
El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances
Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.
El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.
"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.
Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork.
Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist.
Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.
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Taylor Swift Plots 2020 World Tour With U.S. Dates For Lover Fest East & West
Following dates in Europe and South America, Swift will land in the U.S. for Lover Fest East and West, where the pop star will open Los Angeles' brand new stadium
Taylor Swift will be spreading the love in support of her hit album Lover.in 2020, but it may or may not be in a city near you. The GRAMMY winner announced plans for her summer 2020 tour in support of her seventh studio album, including two shows each in Foxborough, Mass. and Los Angeles for Lover Fest East and West respectively as the only four U.S. dates announced so far.
The Lover album is open fields, sunsets, + SUMMER. I want to perform it in a way that feels authentic. I want to go to some places I haven’t been and play festivals. Where we didn’t have festivals, we made some. Introducing, Lover Fest East + West! https://t.co/xw6YMN38WE pic.twitter.com/IhVPQ8DMUG— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) September 17, 2019
The tour kicks off in Belgium on June 20 and hits festivals in seven European countries before heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 18 then heading to U.S. Swift will then present Lover Fest West with back-to-back Los Angeles July 25 and 26 at the newly named SoFi Stadium. The concerts will serve as the grand opening of the much-anticipated NFL venue. The tour will wrap a double header at Gillette Stadiuim in Foxborough July 31 and Aug 1
"The Lover album is open fields, sunsets, + SUMMER. I want to perform it in a way that feels authentic," she tweeted. "I want to go to some places I haven’t been and play festivals. Where we didn’t have festivals, we made some. Introducing, Lover Fest East + West!"
Tickets for the new dates go on sale to the general public via Ticketmaster on Oct. 17.