In its effort to develop solutions to digital music issues, the Recording Academy is seeking the help of 18-24 year-olds.

In its effort to develop solutions to digital music issues, the Recording Academy is seeking the help of 18-24 year-olds. The industry body's What's the Download initiative is forming an interactive advisory board which will put representative music fans face-to-face with artists to discuss the realities of 21st century music consumerism.

As many as 10 individuals will be chosen to participate on the board, which includes artists such as veteran R&B act Earth, Wind & Fire, Sugar Ray singer Mark McGrath and up-and-coming singer/songwriter JD Natasha. Additional artists will be added in the coming weeks.

"When we launched What's the Download earlier this year, it was clear that young adults needed more information about digital music," says Recording Academy president Neil Portnow. "Then, through the message boards and ongoing feedback from these music fans, we realized how important it is to also give them a voice and way to be heard. With that in mind, the Recording Academy is taking the lead to get the fans and artists in the same room to address file-swapping and other important issues."

The board will meet in February for an inaugural What's the Download roundtable discussion in Los Angeles, coinciding with the 2005 Grammy Awards. Members will receive round-trip travel and accommodations, as well as tickets to the Grammy ceremony. They will also be expected to contribute to the What's the Download Web site and e-newsletter, along with local music industry events.

Interested music fans aged 18-24 are urged to apply via the site before Nov. 5. A panel of Recording Academy members, artists and music industry representatives will choose a pool of 50 finalists, who will be asked to submit a video application. That group will be narrowed further for a round of phone interviews, after which a final group of up to 10 individuals will be selected to join the board.