On Sept. 9, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. gave an address to welcome the organization’s 2022 New Member Class. The CEO also answered questions that were submitted by members of the press as part of a Q&A. In the address, Mason provided details about the incoming class and spoke of the Recording Academy’s diversity efforts regarding the Grammy Awards and the music industry.
The Recording Academy added ‘nearly 2,000 diverse’ members
Mason’s address to the new member class was held on Sept. 9, and Mason spoke to the organization’s membership body and reporters. Showbiz Cheat Sheet was in attendance at the virtual address, and the entire address and Q&A can be viewed here.
According to a press release by the Recording Academy, the new member class comes four years after the organization changed to a community-driven and peer-reviewed annual cycle in an effort to “create a more diverse and engaged membership base representative of the evolving musical landscape.”
Following Mason’s address, the Recording Academy shared an infographic of statistics regarding the new member class.
Of the “nearly 2,000 diverse” new members:
- 33% identify as white/Caucasian
- 25% identify as Black/African American
- 24% preferred not to disclose
- 10% identify as Hispanic/Latin
- 4% identify as AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander)
- 3% preferred to self-describe
- 1% identify as Middle Eastern/North African
- Less than 1% identify as Indigenous/Alaskan native.
More about the Recording Academy’s diversity efforts
During his annual address, Mason shared that since changing to its community-driven and peer-reviewed annual cycle, the organization has added 1,913 women to its voting membership body since 2019.
This brings the Recording Academy 77% of the way to reaching its goal of adding 2,500 women voting members by 2025.
Mason said there has also been a “38% increase” of people of color (the Recording Academy later referenced “people of color” as “traditionally underrepresented communities”) becoming members.
According to the Recording Academy‘s press release, the number of women members accounts for 31% of the organization’s current membership, and “traditionally underrepresented communities” account for 33% of the current membership.
During the address, Mason answered seven questions that were submitted. When asked about the challenges facing the Recording Academy and music industry, Mason shared:
“I think one of the biggest challenges is making sure that our industry is really a place where everyone’s included and feels welcome, where everyone feels comfortable. And I think we also have to make sure our industry is addressing some of the systemic issues that have really affected some groups in the past. I think we’ve come a long way as an industry and as an Academy for that matter, but I think we still have a lot of work to do and a ways to go.”
Harvey Mason Jr. thinks ‘members are the lifeblood’ of the Recording Academy
Following Mason’s address, the Recording Academy shared statements from a handful of the organization’s new members.
“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to be a new member with such legendary and groundbreaking
iconic creatives. To join this community is an honor and I already feel so welcomed,” GAYLE, a singer, shared in a statement.
In a statement of his own, Mason shared:
“After years of listening, learning and putting in the work, we’re beginning to see results of our efforts to diversify the Academy’s membership come to life. Our members are the lifeblood of this organization, powering everything we do from the inside out. When we have diverse people representing all corners of the industry contributing unique perspectives, progress is achieved at a rapid pace. The journey is just beginning, and I can’t wait to work alongside our new and existing members to build on the Academy’s commitment to effecting real, meaningful change.”
There are five new categories at the upcoming Grammy Awards
To start the address, Mason revealed that changes have been added to the upcoming Grammy Awards with the addition of five new award categories.
The five new awards are:
- Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical
- Best Alternative Music Performance
- Best Americana Performance
- Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games And Other Interactive Media
- Best Spoken Word Poetry Album
In addition to five new categories being added, a new Special Merit Award has been created as well. This new award is called Best Song For Social Change.
Submissions for Best Song For Social Change will last until Oct. 7 and can be submitted here.
The 2023 Grammy Awards will be held on Feb. 5, 2023, at the Crypto.com Arena.