Figuring he had a receptive audience of producers and engineers, T-Bone Burnett tore into the record industry for its willingness to accept a deterioration in sound quality at the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing's 10th anniversary celebration. "The music business made a mistake in its blind embrace of digital," the analog-loving producer said in the main room at Los Angeles' Village Recordings Studios on Wednesday while accepting a President's Award. "I count MP3s among the worst blights ever on Earth." Burnett went on to quote Marshall McLuhan, demand that analog recording not be abandoned and that the Recording Academy "develop a new audio standard for the 21st century." The speech was partially off the cuff, Burnett said, because he'd had a few drinks backstage, where he was hanging out with Robbie Robertson and Elton John's U.S. manager Johnny Barbis, well-wishers such as Ray LaMontagne and Lisa Marie Presley and others. A film that chronicled Burnett's producing achievements -- from producing Bob Dylan to soundtracks for Coen brothers movies to the Elton John/Leon Russell pairing "The Union" -- preceded a performance from Burnett's latest production effort, the Secret Sisters.

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Ray LaMontagne, T-Bone Burnett, Lisa Marie Presley, NARAS President Neil Portnow, Lydia Rogers, and Laura Rogers from the Secret Sisters. (Photo by Lester Cohen/
Burnett testifies for analog preservation. (Photo by Maury Phillips/
NARAS President Neil Portnow, music producer T-Bone Burnett, and Executive Director of the Producers & Engineers Wing Maureen Droney. (Photo by Lester Cohen/

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