The Recording Academy has announced that it will welcome nearly 2,000 diverse musicians and music industry professionals into its ranks, Billboard reports. Recording Academy President and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. shared the news during an annual address earlier today (September 9), in which he welcomed the Academy’s 2022 members and answered preselected questions from the audience.
“We now actively recruit prospective members and we extend invitations to people who will help us have a more diverse, engaged, and relevant membership base,” Mason said during the session. “We strive for diversity not merely to give certain groups of people or musical genres space at the table [that has been] historically denied them—though that’s definitely part of our motivation. The truth is whenever you have diverse inputs into a decision-making process, you tend to arrive at better outcomes.”
In a new report accompanying the announcement, the Recording Academy shared that among this year’s inductees, 47% are under the age of 40, 32% are women, and 44% are people of color. New members had the option not to disclose any information about their demographic categories, with 16% choosing not to share their gender, 13% opting not to disclose their age, and 24% avoiding self-reporting their ethnicity.
“After years of listening, learning, and putting in the work, we’re beginning to see results of our efforts to diversify the Academy’s membership come to life,” Mason said in a statement shared with Pitchfork. “Our members are the lifeblood of this organization, powering everything we do from the inside out. When we have diverse people representing all corners of the industry contributing unique perspectives, progress is achieved at a rapid pace. The journey is just beginning, and I can’t wait to work alongside our new and existing members to build on the Academy’s commitment to effecting real, meaningful change.”
Harvey Mason Jr. joined the Recording Academy as President and CEO in May 2021 following the removal of Deborah Dugan, who was placed on administrative leave in January 2020 and ultimately fired in March of the same year. While on leave, she filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that her predecessor, former Recording Academy head Neil Portnow, had raped a female performer at Carnegie Hall, among other allegations. Portnow stepped down from the position in 2019—one year after he said that women need to “step up” if they want to be successful in the music industry.