Diversity & Inclusion at the Recording Academy

At the Recording Academy’s invitation, a Diversity & Inclusion Task Force convened in March 2018 to examine issues of diversity and inclusion within the Recording Academy and the broader music community. Led by former first lady Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff and TIME’S UP CEO Tina Tchen, the Task Force conducted a thorough analysis of the various barriers and unconscious biases faced by underrepresented communities throughout the music industry and, specifically, across Academy operations and policies.

This is one of many initiatives put in place by the Recording Academy as it works to build a membership that reflects the diverse creative community that it represents, and to help the music community and industry thrive as a place where all voices are welcomed, supported and nurtured to succeed. For the full report, click here.

Here is a summary of Task Force Recommendations and Academy responses:

The Recording Academy needs to make sure all their committees are gender balanced — both in Governance and the Awards process.

Starting in 2018, the Recording Academy established operational best practices and governance procedures to ensure diverse committees. On the whole, participants on the nomination review committees for the 61st GRAMMY Awards were 51% female. The national governance committees reflected a similar improvement with an overall total of 48% female, and the national governance committee co-chairs were 50% female.

The 62nd GRAMMY Awards nomination review committee composition, across all committees, is 44% female. Similarly, the current national governance committees are 41% female. The variance between the 61st Awards and the 62nd Awards reflects a few individuals who were unable to participate. The invitations to participate in committees did meet gender parity goals.

 

 

The Academy should consult with external industry sources, such as Task Force members, to identify qualified, diverse candidates for committees.

The Recording Academy gathers suggestions for the committees from several sources and will continue to consult with external industry sources should we face shortages. The GRAMMY Awards process is peer-driven, and we thank the Task Force participants for their continued help beyond the formal meetings of the past year-plus.

The Academy should revise the mission statement on its public website to include its commitment to diversity in the music industry.

The Recording Academy has begun making public via website and elsewhere our commitment to diversity and inclusion as core values in delivering our mission.

The Academy should consider issues of diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization including when making hiring decisions.

The Recording Academy agrees to diversity and inclusion policies on all levels of the organization. This includes a diverse slate hiring requirement.

 

The Academy should hire an outside law firm or consulting firm to conduct a review of all of its existing policies on sexual harassment, diversity, workplace culture, and working family benefits.

The Recording Academy is currently working with outside advisory firms to review existing policies to ensure a compliant, inclusive workplace culture. Additionally, the Academy is developing a comprehensive strategy to support and create an even more diverse workplace.

The Academy should publicly report on the demographic composition of its workforce.

The Recording Academy agrees to make public its diversity metrics across several fronts, including the composition of its workforce. For diversity metrics, see above. For executive biographies, visit https://www.grammy.com/press-room/executives.

The Academy should hire a Diversity & Inclusion Officer at the executive level that is responsible for enterprise-wide diversity and inclusion efforts.

The Recording Academy will be hiring a Diversity & Inclusion expert at the executive level responsible for enterprise-wide diversity efforts.

The Academy should invest further in dedicated outreach to prospective members, grassroots organizations, and potential philanthropic partners.

In an immediate effort to address, three new professionals have been hired to support the current Senior Director of Membership Outreach overseeing all nationwide outreach efforts. With the addition of these roles, new goal-setting policies and strategic plan, the dedicated outreach will be elevated.

The Academy should commit to help the ongoing efforts by other organizations in promoting female producers and engineers.

Producers and Engineers rates as noted by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative are staggering. Although our own female members in those professions (12%) are above industry standards (2%), the numbers in both cases are disappointing. Worse than the stats are the cultural obstacles and general misperceptions around women working in music production. To improve on these metrics, the industrywide awareness and hiring practices must evolve with the Recording Academy at the forefront. We are working to ensure the #WomenInTheMix initiative continues with:

  • More than 650 companies and artists involved in hiring producers and engineers have agreed to the #WomenIntheMix pledge. The pledge is a promise to consider two women in the hiring of any open producer or engineer positions.
  • We have trademarked “Women in the Mix” for further development of the brand.
  • GRAMMY.com/WomenInTheMix to promote founding members as well as resources such as She Is The Music and Women’s Audio Mission.
  • We are seeking and open to opportunities with other organizations dedicated to promoting female producers and engineers.

The Academy’s Board of Trustees (“Board”) should assume responsibility for the Academy’s progress on issues of diversity and inclusion.

The Board of Trustees has oversight over diversity and inclusion-related matters at the Recording Academy, with specific accountability in two particular committees. The Planning & Governance Committee oversees matters related to the governance of the organization and this will include diversity and inclusion moving forward, notably focused on the demographics of our Boards and Committees. The Membership Committee, which also serves as the Peer Review Panel, commits annually to creating a diverse class of new members and regularly monitoring the current makeup of our member body.

The Academy’s Chapters should meet nationwide outreach targets.

Immediate action to clarify Chapter goal-setting and outreach metrics is underway. While the Academy’s Chapters and GRAMMY U have always aimed for diversity and inclusion in their programming and outreach, since the beginning of 2018 they have vastly increased efforts in all areas of diversity with a major focus on gender. Here are just a few examples from a variety of the more than 70 female-focused events that have been presented:

  • Craft Sessions With Linda Perry
  • Member Mix: Diversity Outreach Listening Session highlighting Lauren Daigle, producer/engineer Shani Gandhi, Kathie Lee Gifford, Nicole C. Mullen, moderated by Gina Miller
  • IBMAs sponsor/backstage interviews with The First Ladies of Bluegrass and Gillian Welch
  • NYC Young Women Executive dinners
  • Industry Insights: Women in Production with TRAKGIRL, Sylvia Massy, Linda Perry and Michelle Mancini
  • Hosted She Is The Music and Change The Conversation Songwriter Retreat Mixer
  • Craft Session: Vocal Processing Software featuring Maria Elisa Ayerbe and Natalia Ramirez
  • An Evening with Engineers Marcella Araica & Kesha Lee
  • Reboot Women in Production panel with Linda Perry & Lynne Earls
  • Vocal Workshop with Ledisi
  • Songwriting MasterClass with Sarah Hudson
  • Songwriting MasterClass with Melissa Etheridge
  • Mental Health in Entertainment with Cristi Williams
  • Producers & Engineers Wing provided financial support for three WAMCon events (Women’s Audio Mission) two in New York and one in Los Angeles
  • Up Close & Personal with Lana Del Rey
  • Up Close & Personal with Lizzo
  • Up Close & Personal with Sasha Sloan
  • SoundChecks With: Dua Lipa
  • SoundChecks With: SZA
  • SoundChecks With: Paramore
  • SoundChecks With: Ella Mai
  • SoundChecks With: Brandi Carlile
  • SoundChecks With: Billie Eilish
  • SoundChecks With: Tori Kelly
  • SoundChecks With: H.E.R.
  • SoundChecks With: Sasha Sloan
  • SoundChecks With: Lennon Stella
  • SoundChecks With: Julia Michaels
  • SoundChecks With: Ari Lennox
  • SoundChecks With: Maggie Rogers
  • SoundChecks With: Grace VanderWaal
  • SoundChecks With: Janelle Monáe

In addition, during this time period, two of the Academy’s female Chapter Executive Directors were honored: Nashville’s Alicia Warwick was listed in "The Women Who Power Country Music" in the October 2018 issue of Variety magazine and Atlanta’s Michele Caplinger was honored by WIFTA (Women in Film & Television Atlanta). Both the Academy’s VP of Membership & Industry Relations and Sr. Managing Director/Producers & Engineers Wing also joined She is the Music’s Executive Board.

The Task Force proposes a change in how Recording Academy Trustees are elected, to ensure better representation of music’s diversity.

In recent years, the Academy’s Planning and Governance Committee has been working to ensure that the Trustee body is well-rounded and balanced in age, ethnicity, gender, genre, craft, and region. The Trustees voted in November 2019 to create a new system, having also taken into account the recommendation from the Task Force. To achieve our shared objectives, the Academy will begin to implement this new structure in January 2020.

  1. Thirty (30 out of 38) of the Trustees would continue to be elected by the Chapters, under the current system.
  2. Eight (8) of the Trustees would be voted on by the overall membership (Voting and Professional), based on a vote among candidates on a slate chosen by a National Nominating Committee.

To ensure fair representation, the additional eight (8) Trustees will be selected after the first thirty (30) are elected.

The Academy should double the number of female Voting Members in the next five years.

The Academy will double the number of female voters by 2025. Specifically, this means 2500 new female voters by the year 2025. All new members must qualify according to the protocol already agreed upon between our Board of Trustees and the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. The Academy also celebrates the successful membership-specific outreach efforts already completed with the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force:

  • 200 new members from underrepresented groups joined thanks to a dedicated outreach initiative in partnership with the Task Force in 2018.
  • Together, edited and implemented new qualifications that were announced in November 2018.
  • The original outreach efforts plus the new qualifications rollout resulted in a total 563 women joining the Recording Academy.

The Academy should better engage, leverage and involve Professional Members in Academy operations and governance.

Professional Members (defined as music business representatives in direct service of creators) are an important and vital part of the Recording Academy. They serve as part of the organization’s governance in myriad ways, including as Chapter Board Governors, Chapter Board Secretaries, and on select National Trustee committees. Professional members can now also vote on additional Trustees overseeing the Academy nationwide. Additionally, the Recording Academy is developing new engagement opportunities and expanding current programs for Professional members.

It should be clear that the 12-credit qualification can be offset by impressive career substantiation when joining as a new member of the Recording Academy.

The positive changes to our membership qualifications made in partnership with Diversity & Inclusion Task Force will continue in perpetuity. This includes:

  • Acceptance of recommendations from anyone in the music industry, not just current members.
  • Clarification that there is subjective consideration of new member submissions that do not include the full 12 distributed credits.

The Peer Review Panel, responsible for determining membership invitations, should be diverse and reflect societal demographics.

The Academy strives to ensure all committees reflect societal demographics. This would include the Peer Review Panel, as it is the Membership Committee of the National Board of Trustees.

 

The Academy should continue to report its membership makeup on an annual basis.

The Academy will continue to publicly report its’ membership demographics and efforts to diversify the membership annually as part of the announcement of our incoming member class as well as on this page.

 

The Academy should consider implementing a ranked choice voting system to determine GRAMMY Award nominees and winners in General Field categories (Record Of the Year, Album Of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist).

The Academy is open to further research and review of the benefits of ranked choice voting. In an initial presentation to the Awards and Nominations Committee (A&N) last spring, the benefit analysis did not convince the committee that it should be implemented immediately.