New org is nation's largest

The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences has acquired the Music Producers Guild of the Americas. As a result, the org will form a Producers and Engineers Wing, to be headed by 15-year industry vet Michele Slater.

In making the announcement, NARAS prexy-CEO Michael Greene noted that the move would create the nation’s largest professional grouping of musicians, producers, engineers and technicians. The new wing will comprise more than 4,500 members; the total membership of NARAS exceeds 14,000.

Formed in 1977 by Grammy-winning producer-engineer Ed Cherney, the MPGA includes many of the industry’s top producers and recording engineers, all of whom could benefit from the increased clout, resources and profile of the Recording Academy.

New wing opens

The new wing will also incorporate video directors and editors, art directors and other NARAS members who share common overlapping interests.

Phil Ramone — a founding member of MPGA whose 30-year career includes producing albums for Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel and Frank Sinatra — told Daily Variety: “This new alliance enables music producers and engineers who play a major role in the technical side of record-making to enter into dialogues with the manufacturers regarding such issues as testing various new technologies and the best ways to preserve sound recordings.

“We can be the scientific helping hand in terms of how the industry handles downloadable music, especially in terms of compatibility. I think we’d all like to avoid the sort of format wars that happened with VHS vs. Beta.

“We also want to set up various schools to teach future producers and engineers. Traditionally, people have entered our field through informal mentoring programs. It’s our job to make this process more available to more people,” he said.

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