In response to accusations of corruption and a lack of diversity among its Grammy Awards voting body, the Recording Academy announced today that they’ve extended invitations to over 2,700 musicians and industry professionals to join the 2021 class of new members, with 55 percent of those coming from “traditionally underrepresented groups.” Via Pitchfork, the Academy’s membership is currently “26 percent female and 27 percent from traditionally underrepresented groups.”
In recent years, artists like The Weeknd, Fiona Apple, and Frank Ocean have chastised the Grammys over a lack of diversity in their awards process. Though the Academy has attempted to reform their nomination process multiple times over, they’ve long been plagued by problems, culminating in a lengthy public complaint issued last year by their then-President and CEO, Deborah Dugan, who was forced to take administrative leave a week before the 2020 Grammys over misconduct allegations.
“Membership is the Academy’s change agent — our members drive everything we do,” the Academy’s chief industry officer Ruby Marchand said in a statement. “I’m inspired by the potential for each invited music creator and business professional to lend their creativity and passion to our organization.”
“The invitations are a reflection of the #RecordingAcademy’s commitment to excellence and further growing its robust membership body,” the Academy wrote in an Instagram post. “The invitations also reaffirm the Academy’s recognition of the important contributions of music makers and professionals to influence progressive changes within the music industry.” You can read more about the initiative at the Grammys website.
This is the latest reform attempted by the Recording Academy, which in May eliminated the secret nominating committees. Besides that, the Recording Academy recently changed the rules so that members can only vote in 10 categories, whereas before they could vote in 15. This reduction is designed to force voters to focus on their areas of expertise. Not everyone is encouraged by the changes; The Weeknd called the reforms an “admission of corruption.”