Our community is divided on the importance of awards. Some of our members are clearly strictly oriented toward meeting their artistic and financial goals and are not award oriented and shy away from all award processes. Other members see acknowledgement from their music industry peers as a recognition of their artistic successes in addition to the financial success that they strive to achieve. For this second group the GRAMMY’s are often seen as the top award for excellence in their craft.
As you may have read, this month The Recording Academy announced that they would be reducing the number of GRAMMY awards from 109 to 78 beginning with the upcoming 54th annual GRAMMY Awards (covering releases from October 1, 2010 – September 30, 2011). A2IM has done an analysis on the past two year’s awards and has noted that the impact this reduction and consolidation of categories has had on award winners was approximately the same for the independent music label community as it was for the four major labels. The majors were most affected by the combining of genders in many categories and in the reclassification of the duo/collaboration categories into other categories. There were also certain categories that were combined or consolidated that recently have been dominated by the majors, like Rap music. That said if your label’s repertoire includes Hawaiian, Zydeco/Cajun and Native American Music (all now in one new category, Regional Roots Music), Folk or Blues, Classical (where even the Best Classical Album was eliminated), Country, Latin, Jazz, and others this “combining of categories” equity argument doesn’t even out for your label. It also does not even out in terms of the number of nominations Indies have received. What’s always true is that the rich cultural contribution that music diversity offers to music fans is vital and it goes without saying that most of this diversity is created by independent labels and artists, in particular independents who pour their passion and investment into genres that don’t always reap huge financial rewards.
We should note that A2IM has forged a strong relationship with The Recording Academy over the past 4-5 years to the benefit of our members. The Recording Academy has helped us with our independent music advocacy efforts in Washington D.C., introducing and sharing with A2IM their contacts and thus opening up doors for our community so our issues and needs can be heard. We also use The Recording Academy offices for many of our chapter events around the country, including the upcoming Indie Week in New York from June 21st thru 23rd. We have similarly supported some of The Recording Academy advocacy efforts and their charity, MusiCares, that supports our artists when they are in need. In this cooperative spirit, last week we had discussions with many of The Recording Academy people on their changes and they were very receptive to hearing our views and concerns and, while there will be no changes for the coming 54th GRAMMY awards, The Recording Academy will keep an open mind to considering changes for future years, if the results support these changes. A key to re-instating any category as a separate award category is increasing the number of tracks/albums entered/submitted for consideration in each category (or now sub-category) for each genre.
So what do we do now to get these results? We continue along the path of the past 3-4 years which has resulted in the high percentage increases in nominations and awards that our community has achieved. If we continue on this focused path our needs and wants will be heard throughout the GRAMMY process. If our members participate and get their artists to participate by registering as label/media companies, by submitting music entries for consideration and by registering to become voting members of The Recording Academy when they can then we can create change!
Last year music submissions for GRAMMY nomination consideration were up over 25%, almost all Indies, and that saved a number of categories. We must keep that going to keep and expand genre categories!
-We need all independent’s who are eligible to vote to pay the $100 a year membership fee and register to become voting members of The Recording Academy. To see if you qualify as a voting member of The Recording Academy read HERE.
-A key to re-instating any category as a separate award category is increasing the number of tracks/albums submitted/entered in each category (or now sub-category) genre. The Recording Academy is looking at the number of entries submitted for nomination as a key statistic; you need to get your community to nominate their artists.
-During the submission entry round, we need everyone in our community to vote for the members of our community and you need the members of your genre’s community to vote in your category, we’ll send you reminders! Otherwise we will lose awards if certain Recording Academy minimum nominee criteria are not met. You’ll need to call your friends!
-Once the final nominations are issued you need to vote, in the genre categories where your vote will have the most effect. Again we’ll remind you and you’ll need to call your friends.
Below are important dates and deadlines for you to keep in mind for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards. There are a couple of months before any open window dates or deadlines, but now is the time to begin to get your message out to your artists and to their management. Now is the time to begin speaking to friends of yours that work within your genre so they also participate.
*Open window to register as a label/media company in order to submit music for consideration (must be done annually & is free): June 1st – August 25th
*Open window to submit music for 1st round consideration (October, 2010 – July, 2011 releases): July 6th – July 27th
*Open window to submit music for 1st round consideration (August, 2011 – September, 2011 releases): August 17th – August 31st
*the above dates are not for Recording Academy members. If you’re a member of The Recording Academy refer to the members only section of their website for your submission dates.
*To register as a voting member of The Recording Academy in time to receive the 1st ballot the deadline is September 15th.
*To register as a voting member of The Recording Academy in time to receive the final ballot the deadline is November 15th.