Valeisha Butterfield Jones
Photo: Erik Umphery
The Recording Academy Welcomes Valeisha Butterfield Jones As First-Ever Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
The newly appointed global business leader will join the executive leadership team responsible for advancing the Recording Academy's mission and ensuring that diversity and inclusion are core to business values and standards
The Recording Academy has appointed Valeisha Butterfield Jones as its first-ever Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.
Butterfield Jones, who will report directly to Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason jr. effective May 11, will join the executive leadership team responsible for advancing the Recording Academy's mission and ensuring that diversity and inclusion are core to business values and standards and demonstrated throughout the organization.
Butterfield Jones, an award-winning and globally recognized business leader with proven impact at the intersections of technology, politics and entertainment, joins the Recording Academy family following recommendations set forth by the Recording Academy Diversity & Inclusion Task Force in December 2019 with a request for the Academy to hire a Diversity & Inclusion Officer at the executive level responsible for enterprise-wide diversity and inclusion efforts by May 1, 2020. As set forth in the recommendation, Butterfield Jones will bring business acumen and strategic rigor to inclusion practices across all areas of the Recording Academy, including internal and external programs, organizational and staff culture, membership, awards and related initiatives. As Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Butterfield Jones will design, build and implement world-class programs and industry standards focused on inclusion, belonging and representation for underrepresented communities and creators.
"We are thrilled to welcome Valeisha Butterfield Jones into the Recording Academy family," Mason jr. said. "Valeisha has been a force in driving systemic change and enhancing equal opportunities for underrepresented groups across entertainment, technology and politics. I'm excited to work with her to continue evolving the Recording Academy as an organization that represents our music community and a place where all voices are welcomed, supported and nurtured. We are so fortunate to have Valeisha's leadership in this crucial area."
"It's imperative that the music industry continue to make strides toward a more equitable and inclusive industry, and I am pleased to see the Recording Academy take this important step toward change within its own walls today by appointing Valeisha Butterfield Jones as its first-ever Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer," Tina Tchen, chair of the Recording Academy Diversity & Inclusion Task Force and president and CEO of TIME'S UP, said. "Creating this executive-level position was a principal recommendation of our Task Force because it is one significant way the Academy can demonstrate that issues of diversity are mission-critical and will be prioritized in the future."
"The Recording Academy has an opportunity and responsibility to ensure that diversity and inclusion is embedded in its core values. I'm deeply honored to join the Academy as we enter a new chapter of transformational growth, leadership and change," Butterfield Jones said. "During this unprecedented time in world history, together we will double-down on our focus to drive systemic change and equitable outcomes for underrepresented communities and creators."
Butterfield Jones formerly served as the global head of inclusion for Google, Inc., where she was responsible for accelerating diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes for underrepresented communities internally and externally across the global brand. Prior to joining Google, Butterfield Jones served as the national youth vote director for the Obama for America campaign, deputy director of public affairs for international trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Obama Administration, executive director at Rush Communications (Def Jam Enterprises, Baby Phat, Phat Farm, Hip-Hop Summit Action Network) and as the national director of diversity and inclusion for the Alzheimer's Association. Her two-decades-long career began at Home Box Office (HBO Sports).
As a philanthropist, Butterfield Jones co-founded the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN) in 2007, a nonprofit global coalition of women and men committed to the balanced, positive portrayal of women in the entertainment industry. She also serves on the National Board of Directors of ColorComm, MC Lyte's Hip Hop Sisters Network and iVote.
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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.
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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show
Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion
There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.
The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.
This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.
"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."
Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.
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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes
GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program
On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.
Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.
"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."
The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.
"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."
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Mixcloud Signs Warner Music For Subscriptions Remix
There is more to the Mixcloud difference than just electronic dance music, and now the listening service has signed its first major label deal
Among the 1 million curators who have helped build British-based listening service Mixcloud into a destination visited by 17 million listeners each month are GRAMMY winners Erykah Badu, David Byrne, and Tiësto. Limited to streaming-only since its founding in 2008, Mixcloud announced a direct licensing agreement with Warner Music Group this morning, opening the door to offering downloads and new kinds of subscriptions.
Perhaps the standout statistic that describes the Mixcloud difference is that the average length of its user-uploaded programs is 45 minutes. Within the service's general emphasis on DJing, EDM and remix culture, the tendency to drill down and explore narrower listening topics in depth distinguishes the service from competitors such as Spotify or SoundCloud.
Warner Music Group Executive VP for Business Development & Chief Digital Officer Ole Obermann said, "Mixcloud's success is driven by the curiosity and passion of its community, as they engage with new music and rediscover timeless older songs."
Being able to listen to downloads offline seems a natural follow-up to direct licensing deals, but the service hints there's more in store. Mixcloud still hopes to sign indies and the other majors, as its fans have speculated. And with its own proprietary Content ID in place and established relationships with royalty collecting societies, the company has the tech infrastructure to explore new monetization strategies, paying artists and curators in new ways. Launching a new business model for its upcoming approach to paid content and subscriptions is a remix many are anticipating. Not knowing what to expect is part of the excitement.