Recording Academy president and CEO Neil Portnow
onstage at a pre-Grammy Awards event in New York City
on Jan. 27. Michael Kovac/Getty Images for NARAS
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Michael
Kovac/Getty Images for NARAS

Recording Academy president and CEO Neil Portnow onstage
at a pre-Grammy Awards event in New York City on Jan. 27.

Michael
Kovac/Getty Images for NARAS

Another group of high-profile players in the music business are
calling on the Recording Academy (also known as NARAS, the
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and its
president and CEO, Neil Portnow, to make fundamental changes to
address gender disparity within its ranks and at the Grammy
Awards.

The letter follows
one issued earlier this week
from some of the industry’s
most powerful female executives. This time, it’s a group of
male executives.

The letter, which was published in full by
Variety
on Thursday afternoon, stops short of
asking Portnow to step down from his role as the president and
CEO of the Recording Academy, which he has led since 2002.

However, the authors of the letter do call for significant
restructuring:

“Structural flaws in the makeup of The Recording Academy
itself have led to systemic issues in the selection of
nominees and winners for the [Grammy] awards,” it reads in
part. “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.”

The letter was spearheaded by Tom Windish of the Paradigm
Talent Agency (whose roster includes such acts as Lorde,
Skrillex and Sturgill Simpson), and was signed by 38 male
executives, including high-profile industry presences such as
Scooter Braun, who manages Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Ariana
Grande and David Guetta. The other co-signers are primarily
artist agents, attorneys and managers.

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