Scooter Braun, Justin Tranter & More Male Execs Call on Grammys to 'Better Reflect the Diverse Music Business'

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
President of the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow speaks onstage during The 59th Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 12, 2017 in Los Angeles. 

"Now is the time for The Recording Academy to lead through balanced inclusivity."

A new letter to The Recording Academy signed by 38 male music executives is demanding that the organization lead to address gender imbalance in the Grammy Awards, following several similar efforts spearheaded by women

As reported earlier this week, the action was spearheaded by Tom Windish of Paradigm Talent Agency, whose longtime clients include Lorde. And while it stops short of calling for The Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow's resignation -- as one previous letter has done -- it calls on the organization to address "structural flaws" that "have led to systemic issues in the selection of nominees and winners for the awards."

The missive -- which has now been published in full by The Hollywood Reporter (and below) -- states, "We are writing to stand alongside and in solidarity with the women who penned letters to you regarding gender disparity and ask that more significant and robust action be taken by The Recording Academy to answer their call."

Among its signees are manager Scooter Braun of SB Projects, songwriter Justin Tranter, manager Cliff Burnstein of Q Prime, manager Jake Udell of TH3RD BRAIN, Dave Ayers of Big Deal Music and dozens more primarily consisting of agents, managers and attorneys. In it, they demand The Recording Academy reveal the diversity makeup of its voting members and make the necessary changes to its population "to better reflect the diverse music business voices the organization is meant to serve." 

When Windish was earlier asked why he created the petition, he said it was "to support women and encourage the academy to make significant changes."

The letter cites a recent study from the University of Southern California showing a major lack of women in the music industry, pointing to one statistic that states that from 2013-2018, of almost 900 Grammy nominations, 90 percent were male and less than 10 percent were female. It is worth noting those statistics exist within an industry, as the study points out, where from 2012-2017 (when those Grammy-nominated works were released) women were outnumbered as artists 3.5:1, as songwriters 7.1:1 and as producers 49.1:1. 

"We realize the entire music industry, ourselves included, has significant work to do to achieve gender and ethnic diversity," the letter ends. "If NARAS aspires to be an authentic representation of our music industry, then now is the time for The Recording Academy to lead through balanced inclusivity. The Recording Academy has a responsibility to take aggressive steps in order to move forward for the greater good of our creative community."

The Recording Academy declined to comment.

Following the Grammy Awards last month, Portnow sparked controversy when he commented that women in music need to "step up" while backstage at the show, which was already under fire for its few female nominees and not asking Lorde -- the only female nominated for album of the year -- to perform at the event. 

Since, he has sought to clarify his statement and the Recording Academy has announced plans to establish an "independent task force" to identify gender bias in the organization and unconscious bias to promote women in the industry.

The full letter is below:

Dear Mr. Neil Portnow and all members of The Recording Academy:

We are writing to stand alongside and in solidarity with the women who penned letters to you regarding gender disparity and ask that more significant and robust action be taken by The Recording Academy to answer their call.

From 2013 to 2018, of almost 900 Grammy nominations, 90% were male and less than 10% were female.

NARAS is meant to reflect all of the music industry and be “by the people and for the people”.  Structural flaws in the makeup of The Recording Academy itself have led to systemic issues in the selection of nominees and winners for the awards. Now is the time for NARAS to lead and be transparent and dedicated to transforming its member base to truly mirror the rich gender and cultural diversity of our community.  NARAS should reveal the diversity (and/or the lack thereof) of its voting members and make necessary changes to the population of the Academy to better reflect the diverse music business voices the organization is meant to serve.

We realize the entire music industry, ourselves included, has significant work to do to achieve gender and ethnic diversity.  If NARAS aspires to be an authentic representation of our music industry, then now is the time for The Recording Academy to lead through balanced inclusivity.  The Recording Academy has a responsibility to take aggressive steps in order to move forward for the greater good of our creative community.  

We have faith that NARAS will rise to the task. 

Signed,

Chris Anokute, Young Forever, Inc.
Dave Ayers, Big Deal Music
Joshua Binder, Davis Shapiro Lewit et al
Scooter Braun, SB Projects
Cliff Burnstein, Q Prime
Steve Bursky, Foundations Music
Rich Cohen, LoyalT Management
Matt Colon, Deckstar
Jaddan Comerford, Unified Music Group
Pat Corcoran, Haight Brand
Phil Costello, Red Light Management
Marty Diamond, Paradigm Talent Agency
Dan Friedman, Equative Thinking
Eric Greenspan, Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light LLP
Elliot Groffman, Carroll Guido & Groffman LLP
Michael Guido, Carroll Guido & Groffman LLP
Randy Jackson, 1963 Entertainment
Evet Jean, Opulent AM
Kenny MacPherson, Big Deal Music
Billy Mann, Manncom Creative Partners
Peter Mensch, Q Prime
Brian Message, ATC Management
Ian Montone, Monotone, Inc.
Craig Newman, ATC Management
Scott Rodger, Maverick
Aaron Rosenberg, Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light LLP
Anthony Saleh, Emagen
Rich Schaefer, LoyalT Management
Brian Schwartz, 7S Management
Dalton Sim, Nettwerk Management
Drew Simmons, Foundations Music
Chris Tetzeli, 7S Management
Justin Tranter, JSFG Publishing
Jake Udell, TH3RD BRAIN
Dean Wilson
Tom Windish, Paradigm Talent Agency
Henny Yegezu, Equative Thinking
Jeremy Zimmer, United Talent Agency