After years of criticism over a lack of female and diverse representation in its membership and the Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy is continuing its efforts to expand its voting body by extending invitations to 2,710 established music professionals “from wide-ranging backgrounds, genres and disciplines,” according to the announcement.
It states that the 2021 class of invitees is 48 percent female, 32 percent Black or African American+, 13 percent Hispanic or Latino/a/x+, and four percent Asian or Pacific Islander+. The Academy’s existing membership represents 26 percent female and 27 percent from traditionally underrepresented groups. Since setting the goal of adding 2,500 women voting members by 2025, 831 women have joined the Academy’s voting membership, putting the organization 33 percent closer to reaching that milestone.
The effort extends to the organization’s leadership: veteran songwriter-producer Harvey Mason jr. was officially named CEO last month after serving nearly 18 months in the role on an interim basis, and Valeisha Butterfield Jones, who previously served as chief diversity officer, was named co-president along with Berklee School of Music vet Panos Panay.
“Membership is the Academy’s change agent — our members drive everything we do,” said Ruby Marchand, Chief Industry Officer at the Recording Academy. “I’m inspired by the potential for each invited music creator and business professional to lend their creativity and passion to our organization. We are immensely proud of our accomplishments and the strides we’ve made toward equitable representation. We look forward to welcoming our new invitees as they help us shape the future of the Academy and the music industry.”
“This is an incredibly exciting time to join the Academy and play a part in accelerating change, progress and evolution within the music industry,” said Kelley Purcell, Vice President of Membership and Industry Relations at the Recording Academy. “Our membership body is the driving force behind our actions, and we value the contributions of our members that help ensure the Academy’s practices authentically represent the current state of music.”
In order to participate in the process for the upcoming Grammy Awards, new members have to accept their invitations by Sept. 15, 2021. The first voting ballot opens Oct. 22 and closes Nov. 5. The 64th Grammy Awards are set to take place Jan. 31, 2022, at the StaplesCenter in Los Angeles.
For more information on the Recording Academy’s membership process and requirements, visit here. For full information and details surrounding the new class of invitees, visit here.