BY SARAH JONES
Senior Executive Director, The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing
The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards airs live on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13. Always a technically masterful show with more than a dozen live performances, its highly sophisticated, surround-on-the-fly audio is nothing short of mind-boggling— due in part because the sound production is overseen by veteran members of The Recording Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing. So with GRAMMY season upon us, we thought we’d get caught up on the P&E Wing’s latest industry outreach efforts, and learn more about what it means to be a member.
Why was the P&E Wing created?
The Recording Academy, which is the membership organization that puts on the GRAMMY Awards, has about 20,000 members. A third of them—half the voting membership—are producers and/or engineers. Many of them are very active in the Academy. They’re also extremely passionate about sound quality and technology—areas that are fundamentally important to the overall Academy. Since P&E Wing members have special expertise in those areas, it made sense to have a membership division that could provide support for issues and initiatives related to audio. It’s worked out pretty well—the Wing is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year!
What kinds of benefits does the P&E Wing offer members?
As producer/engineer Ed Cherney, a founding member of the Wing, has said, “It’s not about what the P&E Wing can do for you. It’s about what you can do for your industry.” There are benefits, of course, from being able to vote in the GRAMMY Awards to discounts on software, hardware, trade shows, and conferences. But the biggest benefit the Wing offers is that it’s an advocate for the interests of people who work behind the scenes.
How does the Wing advocate for the recording community?
A good example is the way we worked with Shure, lobbying the FCC to protect spectrum space for wireless microphones. The Wing also supports the Performance Rights Act. We advocate for proper crediting of content creators, and to that end, we’ve supported the development of an open-standard recording-metadata schema and collection application called CCD (Content Creator Data) developed by BMS/Chace and the Library of Congress.
What are the Wing’s plans for 2011?
We’re working with audio educators and manufacturers regarding technical best practices, and to promote the use of the CCD app—again, related to open standards for metadata, which will facilitate proper crediting. We’re looking into ways to work with other groups like IMSTA to combat audio software piracy, something that’s having a devastating effect on companies that are important to our industry. And as always, we’re working to educate people that sound matters!
Why is it important to be involved in The Recording Academy community?
Everyone in this profession who cares about our industry should be a member of The Recording Academy—not only to take part in the GRAMMY Awards process, but also to have a voice; to share ideas, express concerns, and work together to preserve the integrity of the music industry, so that it can evolve and grow. We are a powerful force in shaping the future of this industry.