The music industry notoriously rests on laurels of flux. This was highlighted red in 2017, when in a period of shift in the industry away from pop and EDM toward up and coming hip-hop and R&B artists, The Grammy's nominee list was infamously out of step with day to day culture. While it included movers of culture like Beyoncé, her album Lemonade was passed over for Adele's 25. While not to be ignored for its own impressiveness, 25's win was a symbol of an old world, male, white industry.
Ignorance of the groundbreaking led to extensive backlash, not just from the artists themselves. So in 2018, The Recording Academy took steps to address its lack of self-awareness by creating a Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion. Still, when the 2018 nominees were announced, backlash came again for its lack of acknowledgement of the talents women.
As The Academy slowly catches up to its movers and shakers in 2019, nominating artists like H.E.R. and Jorja Smith, it's finally found a place to get ahead and take some initiative like the artists it awards. Today, just as Grammy Week is about to kick off, that means taking on the statistics of inclusion amongst producers and engineers/mixers. With rock and roll icon Linda Perry seeing her chance to be the first woman to win in the Producer of the Year category, this take feels apropos. Perry's nomination has led the conversation on these misses, highlighting the statistic that only 2 percent of producers and 3 percent of engineers and mixers are female. And in tow, comes The Producer & Engineer Inclusion Initiative and its many superstar endorsements as a first step to increase those numbers.
According to the release from The Recording Academy, "The Inclusion Initiative calls on any entity or individual responsible for or involved in selecting and hiring producers and engineers to commit to making hiring decisions only after considering a slate of candidates that includes at least two women. It also asks working producers to take gender diversity challenges in music’s technical fields into account when determining who to mentor and prepare for development and advancement opportunities." Simply, they've created a webpage where female engineers and producers can be identified and serve as a tool for those participating and a place to find mentors for those entering the business.
Artists, managers and companies across the industry are putting their stake in this initiative, with Justin Bieber, Cardi B, Common, Andra Day, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Shawn Mendes, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, P!NK, Post Malone, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and others getting involved.
For more information on this initiative, head to The Grammy's website.