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National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences


MusicWorkz

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Otherwise known as the Grammy Organization.

 

Who is a member? Why or why not?

 

I am just curious because I am an active Associate (non-voting) Memeber of the Philly Chapter and have been for several years now. Yet, when I ask other musicians that I know whether or not they are a part of the organization, or at least participate in local activities, I get a blank stare.

 

Talk to me Forumites...

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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OK, you asked for it. 1987, I've just finished studying at Columbia College in Chicago (sound reinforcement, record production, theory, harmony, songwriting). I've put out my first record, I wrote, played, engineered, and I've been recruited to these NARAS meetings, to which I go and network. I bring my friend along, who is NOT a musician, is NOT a record producer or songwriter or engineer, and in fact, just likes music. We both fill out our applications, and of course he doesn't have an album or cassette to include with his application, much less any credits, but I do. We both submit our fees.

 

Mine gets returned with a note, "not enough credentials. Please reapply at a later date when you have more experience" or some such bullshit. He is still a voting member.

 

They can kiss my ass. And continue to vote Jethro Tull best Heavy Metal Artist.

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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Things are considerably different now Tony than it was 20 years ago. You might want to give the organization another try. Only six documented credits (on nationally distributed projects) to be eligible for Voting Membership.

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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Friends of mine (when I lived in the US) played trumpet in the Jimmy Sturr polka band. Jimmy would pay $100 per year per band member, back then, to have them vote for the Grammy Awards. Amazingly, the Jimmy Sturr Polka Band (or is that an Orchestra) always won the Best Polka Album.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy_Award_for_Best_Polka_Album

 

I had a few friends in that band. They always worked, made good money but they really didn't like the music; I can't imagine why.

 

 

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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For some of the less popular categories, it isn't difficult to see how that might might. It happened one year in Gospel for an artist who's CD would NEVER cut the mustard, yet, because of the network she had, was able to garner on.

 

I think there is a misconception out there of the organization stemming from years of mismanagement. Even still, it is the one music organization that cuts across genre's and disciplines that worth the effort to be a part of.

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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The whole Grammy award thing is corrupted by the fact that (just like a governmental election), artists can actually campaign to try to solicit votes. What BS! It should be -required- that -all- nominees music -must- be listened to before voting, and judged on their musical basis alone, period. No artwork or credits to look at; just like the Downbeat Blindfold Tests. The American Music Awards suck too; they only accept submissions from artists on major labels. Even the Grammy awards don't stoop that low.
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The whole Grammy award thing is corrupted by the fact that (just like a governmental election), artists can actually campaign to try to solicit votes. What BS! It should be -required- that -all- nominees music -must- be listened to before voting, and judged on their musical basis alone, period. No artwork or credits to look at; just like the Downbeat Blindfold Tests. The American Music Awards suck too; they only accept submissions from artists on major labels. Even the Grammy awards don't stoop that low.

 

That isn't quite the "process". Artists have no part in their nominations (that is all done at the label level and screened once or twice before THAT phase) and little to do with the actual vote. However, if what you call "campaigning" is people letting their network know they are nominated, then so be it. We get by with a little help from our friends.

 

If Dave Bryce's KC Compliation 13 got nominated somehow, I would surely VOTE for a project that I personally submitted, worked or knew the people working on it. The nomination itself is the feat. And when the work astands out, it is noticed. Voting members have access to the nominated materials-so it isn't just a popularity contest either.

 

Admittedly, the possible effect of "campaigning" would mostly show up in the smaller less popular categories (i.e. the Polka example). Now, when you register, you are registered in a particular genre, so you won't be voting for Classical if you are registered as Folk, even though I think you have one or two other votes to use at will. So for the most part, the ONLY people voting are an artists' peers and that part is AFTER the intial screening. Far from perfect, unlike the AMA and other awards, the Grammy votes are coing from WITHIN the industry (rea NOT fans or bean counters looking for TV ratings), from people who know the music being voted on.

 

And that is only PART of what goes on. At the chapter levels, lots of interesting things are happening that are impacting what we do (the work the Producer and Engineering Wing is doing is more than a notion). Most of all, that is where some serious networking occurs. I've goten more than a few gigs and opporunities from being in the right place with serious movers and shakers.

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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MW,

 

Artists have no part in their nominations

I never claimed that they did. Once nominated, it has become commonplace for nominees to send out emails to their whole musical world asking voting-eligible recipients to vote for them. So folks who've been in the industry for years have an unfair advantage over those just starting out. Awards should be based on musical prowess alone, and nothing more.

 

However, if what you call "campaigning" is people letting their network know they are nominated, then so be it. We get by with a little help from our friends.

Exactly; this is precisely what I disagree with. IMHO, industry friendships should have no bearing on whether or not someone wins. And this "networking factor" trickles all the way down so that only known entities are able to get nominated. Unknowns without big label affiliations have very little chance of breaking through, regardless of the quality of their music.

 

Voting members have access to the nominated materials-so it isn't just a popularity contest either.

I would respectfully argue that if your network is voting for you based on your friendship with them, then a popularity contest is precisely what it is. And as we both know, having access to the music in question isn't the same as actually listening to it. But then, you want your network to vote for you regardless of how good the competition's music is, so what's the point of their listening?

 

I've goten more than a few gigs and opportunities from being in the right place with serious movers and shakers.

I have no problem with networking in and of itself. But I fail to see why anyone should receive a Grammy Award for it, instead of being judged on strictly musical merits.

 

Look, I realize that this is just the way it is, and there's nothing that I can do about it. I know that I'm spitting in the wind here. But you're admittedly speaking about this as someone who benefits from all this as an insider. From someone on the outside trying to break in, it's far from fair. Like the Oscars, it's just more of the same old self-congratulatory industry insider BS.

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I wonder if any of the participants of this thread have any agendas. Just a thought.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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As always, I wonder if you have anything intelligent to say, or just enjoy stirring the pot. My agenda is truth.

 

As always, you wonder if I have anything intelligent to say?

 

I'm very glad to hear your agenda is ... truth. I shall sleep much better this evening.

 

Actually, my remark was not aimed in your general direction.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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MW,

 

Artists have no part in their nominations

I never claimed that they did. Once nominated, it has become commonplace for nominees to send out emails to their whole musical world asking voting-eligible recipients to vote for them. So folks who've been in the industry for years have an unfair advantage over those just starting out. Awards should be based on musical prowess alone, and nothing more.

 

However, if what you call "campaigning" is people letting their network know they are nominated, then so be it. We get by with a little help from our friends.

Exactly; this is precisely what I disagree with. IMHO, industry friendships should have no bearing on whether or not someone wins. And this "networking factor" trickles all the way down so that only known entities are able to get nominated. Unknowns without big label affiliations have very little chance of breaking through, regardless of the quality of their music.

 

Voting members have access to the nominated materials-so it isn't just a popularity contest either.

I would respectfully argue that if your network is voting for you based on your friendship with them, then a popularity contest is precisely what it is. And as we both know, having access to the music in question isn't the same as actually listening to it. But then, you want your network to vote for you regardless of how good the competition's music is, so what's the point of their listening?

 

I've goten more than a few gigs and opportunities from being in the right place with serious movers and shakers.

I have no problem with networking in and of itself. But I fail to see why anyone should receive a Grammy Award for it, instead of being judged on strictly musical merits.

 

Look, I realize that this is just the way it is, and there's nothing that I can do about it. I know that I'm spitting in the wind here. But you're admittedly speaking about this as someone who benefits from all this as an insider. From someone on the outside trying to break in, it's far from fair. Like the Oscars, it's just more of the same old self-congratulatory industry insider BS.

 

I think the things you've said echo the complaints of many. But it also highlights quite a bit of misconception that is ALL the organization is about, hence my question.

 

I would far from call myself an "insider". I am a musician/producer that is trying just like you to break in. I WISH anything I have done would even make the radar TO be nominated. But I do think I have a better chance of success in whatever I am doing if I understand the machine from the inside. What benefits I have received have been from being good at what I do and understanding there is s real business component to it as well.

 

 

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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As always, I wonder if you have anything intelligent to say, or just enjoy stirring the pot. My agenda is truth.

 

As always, you wonder if I have anything intelligent to say?

 

I'm very glad to hear your agenda is ... truth. I shall sleep much better this evening.

 

Actually, my remark was not aimed in your general direction.

 

Let me take a bite of this, if I may. Personally, I have NO agenda in this question. Indeed, if I really had one, I'd be talking about programs, activities, and posting links to the website.

 

I asked about NARAS because I have found it valuable to me beyond just a musician and wanted to know if others participated as well. Heck, I'm an Associate Member-I can't even vote for the award. But with so many notions about what it is, no harm in sharing what it is beyond the over-hyped Grammy Awards (which I agree).

 

Which is another reason for my participation. If things are to ever change, even a little bit, it won't if regular musicians like us aren't a part of it. So truly, the Grammy's are not ALL the organization is about.

 

At worst, I have been exposed to working professionals, personalities and real opportunities I would normally miss if I just stayed a gigging musician. At the best, it's helped continue to establish me and my business so when I get tired of lugging three keyboards, two stands, an amp and a throne, I can make a living STILL doing what I love, just in another way.

 

So maybe I DO have an agenda after all...

 

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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MW,

 

The bottom of your post was somehow cut off. Please continue, and elaborate on what else the organization does.

 

It didn't cut off. I got distracted..lol.

 

I picked up a little bit in my post to Dave H. It's a great networking place. Locally, the Chapter hosts workshops on any number of topics and networking opps from financial matters to studio techniques. One of the most memorable, I went to a great mixing workshop with Joe Tarsia (if you don't know Joe, you don't know the Sound of Philadelphia). The Chapter even did an Independent's Music Conference for us indy artists-talk about a bang for the buck. Perhaps the most fun I've had though was talking to students interested in music careers.

 

The best part for me professionally, however, has little to do with actually playing music. I produce the largest outdoor gospel music festival in Philly.

 

Maybe its only me, but musicians aren't always seen as the most business savvy group out there. It was my participation (and reputation) locally in NARAS that helped take it from a one-day event to a 3-day event featuring gospel, jazz and classical. The contacts and network has proven invaluable to me for that business activity because I was able to not only get to know the players (and it goes well into City Government when you get to a certain level), but allow them to get to know me.

 

Yeah, I've benefited from the organization and it is a resource I know too few musicians and even producers at our amateur, semi-pro and even pro level truly take advantage of.

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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I've been a voting member for close to 20 years and just decided not to renew my membership. I think it can be a good networking opportunity but I never took advantage of it. And every year I find myself more out of touch with the music on the ballots and consequently, only vote for a handful of artists/songs.

I really have no complaints with the organization but it just got to the point where i could no longer justify the expense.

JP

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