Recording Academy Appoints Ryan Butler As Vice President Of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Ryan Butler

Photo: Aaron Doggett for Visyoual Media


Recording Academy Appoints Ryan Butler As Vice President Of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The Recording Academy announced today the appointment of Ryan Butler as Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, effective immediately. Butler leads DEI internally and externally for the Recording Academy and its affiliates.

Recording Academy/Mar 10, 2022 - 09:31 pm

The Recording Academy announced today the appointment of Ryan Butler as Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, effective immediately. Reporting to Co-President Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, Butler leads diversity, equity and inclusion internally and externally for the Recording Academy and its affiliates. He is responsible for enterprise-wide diversity and inclusion efforts and ensuring the Academy's core value of diversity, equity and inclusion remains embedded throughout all aspects of the organization, including internal staff culture, Membership, Awards, Advocacy, and related programs. He also sets national and Chapter goals to accelerate outcomes for underrepresented communities and creators.

"We are so proud to have Ryan as our Vice President of DEI," said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. "His passion and leadership have been instrumental to the huge strides in diversity, equity and inclusion we’ve accomplished over the past two years and we're excited to see how he'll continue to enhance our commitment to the music community."

Butler joined the Academy in 2019 as a key member of the Advocacy and Public Policy team and later served as Director then Senior Advisor of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion department. Within DEI, he's led various efforts including the launch of the Academy's first-ever Black Music Collective and the podcast of the same name, the Women In The Mix® Study alongside Berklee College of Music and Arizona State University, and the implementation of an Inclusion Rider for the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards®. Butler also was instrumental in launching a series of partnerships including Color Of Change and GLAAD. During his tenure as Senior Advisor, Butler simultaneously served as the Founding Executive Director of the Warner Music/Blavatnik Center for Music Business at Howard University. 

Prior to his role at Howard, he held various positions at Scripps Howard School of Journalism & Communication at Hampton University, beginning as an adjunct professor and becoming the Assistant Dean for Administration. He also held past roles at 3EE Consulting, Atlantic Records, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman, LLP, and District of Columbia Superior Courts in Washington, D.C.

Butler serves on Warner Music Group's Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Board and the ADCOLOR for Music Advisory Board. In 2020, he was a founding member and Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee on the Recording Academy's Staff Council. He also has received multiple Outstanding Professor Awards, an Academic Excellence Award and a President's Ambassador of Excellence Award from Hampton University.

Butler holds a bachelor's degree in strategic, legal & management communication from Howard University and a master's degree in music business, with a concentration in entertainment, media & technology from New York University.

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The Recording Academy Partners With Forte To Offer High-Quality Music Education Lessons For Students Of All Levels

Image courtesy of the Recording Academy


The Recording Academy Partners With Forte To Offer High-Quality Music Education Lessons For Students Of All Levels

Through this newly announced partnership, students and aspiring musicians and artists will be able to access more than 100 Forte teachers who are verified Recording Academy members, GRAMMY winners and GRAMMY nominees exclusively on Forte.

Recording Academy/Sep 8, 2023 - 02:04 pm

Marking a major step forward in the music industry and online learning, the Recording Academy has partnered with industry-leading online music education platform Forte to provide and expand access to the highest quality in music education for students of all levels. Through the new partnership, Forte, known for its use of high-definition audio quality and user-friendly design, will be the only online platform where students can access accomplished musicians from the Recording Academy’s esteemed membership, including GRAMMY winners and GRAMMY nominees.

More than 100 Forte teachers have been verified as members of the Recording Academy or as GRAMMY winners or GRAMMY nominees. This process included a screening for each instructor that guarantees Forte teachers hold significant teaching experience and background, ensuring all students receive instructions and lessons from knowledgeable and experienced educators.

"Members of the Recording Academy are among the most experienced and prestigious music creators in the world, working in the highest levels of the music industry," Forte co-founder and CEO Mark Murtagh said in a statement. "If a student has ever dreamed of learning an instrument or song writing from a GRAMMY nominee or winner, Forte now makes that possible. This unprecedented partnership exemplifies Forte's mission to radically expand access to high-quality music education and the Recording Academy's dedication to advancing the future of music."

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. further spoke on the revolution of online music education.

"Online learning is revolutionizing education, expanding access and creating new opportunities for families and students everywhere," Mason jr. said in a statement. "The Recording Academy is proud to help expand music instruction through our partnership with Forte. Our extraordinary members are excited to share their expertise and knowledge with future music creators."

All lessons will be on Forte's online platform. Learn more and sign up now for lessons via Forte's official website.

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Revisit The 2023 Washington D.C. Chapter Block Party: Championing Artistry & Advocacy
Pinky Tha Rapper poses at the Recording Academy DC Chapter Block Party

Photo: Shannon Finney/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


Revisit The 2023 Washington D.C. Chapter Block Party: Championing Artistry & Advocacy

At its first block party in four years, the Recording Academy's Washington D.C. Chapter showcased its support for music and the artists who make it. Take a peek inside the July 28 event, held at THRōW Social D.C.

Recording Academy/Aug 16, 2023 - 08:21 pm

Cheers filled the room on July 28 as guests of the Recording Academy's Washington, D.C. Chapter block party — the chapter's first in four years. 

The world has changed significantly since the Chapter's last block party, but as Chapter President Tamara Wellons (who is also a gifted vocalist) noted, one thing remains the same: "Music is that thing that really helps us." 

The six-hour event provided the opportunity for both fellowship and knowledge-building. The first half featured a Creator Lounge, where panelists spoke on the nuances of an ever-changing industry and how musicians can adapt, advocate and monetize their work. The block party itself took place on the rooftop of THRōW Social D.C., and included finger foods, cocktails and performances by local artists. Among those artists was DJ Oji, a Brooklyn-bred and Baltimore-based house DJ.

The block party fell on the same day as The Day that Music Cares, the first-ever day of service for the music community. To commemorate this day, attendees were encouraged to bring school supplies for the chapter’s back to school drive. 

For Wellons, it was extremely important that the block party be equally diverse, informative, and fun. The goal was for the local music community to walk away with the knowledge they need to advance their careers.

"One thing we wanted to do was have our block party be just a little different  not just an average party," Wellons told "We wanted to get organizations that offered grants, like the Maryland State Arts Council or the D.C. Commission [on The Arts & Humanities]. They have these grants and things that a lot of our music community don't know about and have not taken advantage of completely."

The advancement of knowledge about available resources, along with the idea of advocacy, were huge themes throughout the event. Members attended discussions about the potential uses of AI, the RAP Act and the importance of ensuring all creators get paid fairly.

The first panel, which was led by Todd Dupler, the Recording Academy’s Acting Chief Advocacy & Public Policy Officer, and Dr. Chelsey Green, the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, discussed the Academy’s efforts to fight on behalf of music creators.

"What's great about the Recording Academy is that we represent all creators, no matter their craft or their genre," Dupler said. "Especially here in the Washington D.C. chapter, there's always been great synergy between having a chapter in our nation's capital and the advocacy work that we do year-round." 

Members of the D.C. Chapter were also given exclusive access to register early for District Advocate Day, an initiative through which Recording Academy members across the country can get involved in the Academy’s advocacy work. 

"My hope is that [members] understand that we value not only what they do as an Academy member, but who they are as a working musician, [as well as] what needs they have as an artist and how we can support that," said Green, a skilled violinist and founder of the Green Project, an ensemble that aims to break down stereotypes around the violin and viola. "We're all part of one Academy, and that is what the Academy is about. It’s about the community supporting creators year-round."

The second panel, which was led by YouTube Music Global Music Strategist Lead Mahlet Seyoum, discussed YouTube monetization and how creators can benefit from the use of assets like YouTube Shorts. For Seyoum, it is important for marginalized creators, especially Black ones, are able to profit and receive the utmost credit for their work.

"I'm always going to be holding it down for us and making sure that the people who are really the bedrock of the culture — are producing the most content and are at the top of the charts — are able to monetize, profit off of and grow from their creativity, from their work and from their art," said Seyoum.

The block party portion of the event kicked off with performances by Pinky Tha Rapper and Noochie, two Washington D.C. rappers on the rise, along with sounds by DJ Joxfroxi. 

"[D.C.’s] just a very unique place when it comes to fashion, music, even the Black experience," said Noochie, who is known for his #FrontPorchFreestyles series on Instagram and is inspired by D.C.'s life and culture. "I've been to a lot of other cities, and I don't feel as comfortable as I do here. I consider myself lucky to be from here."

Other performers included DC-based indie soul band Oh He Dead, as well as three-time GRAMMY nominee Raheem DeVaughn and his go-go band, the Crank Crusaders.

Wayna, a GRAMMY-nominated singer and actress who co-authored the Best Song For Social Change Award, enjoyed each aspect of the block party, which allowed for learning, relaxation and entertainment. A newly elected member to the Recording Academy’s Board of Trustees, she resonated greatly with the messages around advocacy.

"I became an artist because I wanted to tell stories, and very often the stories that I want to tell — and a lot of marginalized artists want to tell — are those of people who don't have a voice," she said. "The point of creating that empathy and connection through music is so that we can have a world where it's more equitable and people have more opportunities. That is the outcome of great art."

The energy at the block party certainly indicates that the Recording Academy's D.C Chapter knows how to party; but more than that, they know how to cultivate community and connection during a time at which those things are needed most. 

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Learn How The GRAMMY Awards Journey Works With This Interactive Online Hub: GRAMMY Submissions, Voting, Nominations & Beyond

Image courtesy of the Recording Academy


Learn How The GRAMMY Awards Journey Works With This Interactive Online Hub: GRAMMY Submissions, Voting, Nominations & Beyond

With this dynamic, informative, easy-to-use online resource, learn how the GRAMMYs process works — from GRAMMY voting to GRAMMY nominations to GRAMMY night.

Recording Academy/Jul 31, 2023 - 03:51 pm

GRAMMY night is Music's Biggest Night — but it takes the whole year to get there.

If the GRAMMYs process seems fairly elaborate, that's because it is. It’s built on a finely tuned system that ensures the most fair, accurate and transparent process possible. And now, the Recording Academy is giving an inside look into the annual GRAMMY Awards process like never before.

The Recording Academy just unveiled a dynamic online hub giving artists, music professionals and music fans alike a deep dive into the annual GRAMMY Awards process. The reimagined GRAMMY Awards journey page, launched today, offers an interactive, engaging online resource for anyone looking to learn more about the inner mechanics behind the GRAMMYs. 

A comprehensive resource and online hub for all things GRAMMYs, the page explains the GRAMMY Award process in full, from submissions to GRAMMY voting to GRAMMY nominations and beyond, offering users many opportunities to dig deeper throughout the experience. It also includes a timeline of key GRAMMY dates and deadlines and overall GRAMMY Awards milestones.

The GRAMMY Awards journey page is a 24/7, 365 resource for Recording Academy voting members, artists and media companies submitting GRAMMY-eligible product, and nominees as well as everyday music fans.

Click here to get started and explore the GRAMMY Awards process in full.

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The Recording Academy Proudly Invites Nearly 3,700 Music Creators & Professionals To Join Its 2023 New Member Class
The Recording Academy's 2023 New Member Class

Graphic Courtesy of the Recording Academy


The Recording Academy Proudly Invites Nearly 3,700 Music Creators & Professionals To Join Its 2023 New Member Class

The newly invited members epitomize the Recording Academy's mission to reflect the vibrant global music community we proudly serve. The deadline to accept invitations to participate in the entire process for the 2024 GRAMMY Awards is Friday, July 14.

Recording Academy/Jun 21, 2023 - 04:58 pm

As part of our annual marquee membership initiative, the Recording Academy has today officially extended invitations to nearly 3,700 music creators and industry professionals to join its 2023 New Member Class. Of the total invitations sent today, more than 2,800 invitees qualify to become Voting Members and more than 800 invitees qualify to become Professional Members.

Newly invited members must accept invitations to join the Recording Academy by Friday, July 14, in order to participate in the entire process for the 2024 GRAMMY Awards, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards. See below for a full list of upcoming deadlines pertaining to the 2023 New Member Class invitations.

Spanning a wide range of genres, crafts, backgrounds, and regions across the music industry, these exceptional invitees epitomize the essence of music – leading the direction of our creative community, bringing forth ideas to propel positive progress, and expanding our mission to cultivate a more enriching world for creators. The Recording Academy invites them as members, but also as torchbearers of our mission to reflect the vibrant global music community we proudly serve.

From voting at the annual GRAMMY Awards to advocating for music people to championing music education and philanthropy, our membership powers everything we do at the Recording Academy. Each year, our membership continues to grow and evolve to reflect the ever-changing music industry, with every new class and every new member helping to cultivate a stronger, more vibrant, and more diverse music community. 

As active members of the Recording Academy, members play a vital role in shaping the future of the music industry locally via their respective Chapters as well as nationally. Only Recording Academy members, in addition to media companies, can submit their music and works for GRAMMY Awards consideration. Voting Members also determine the annual GRAMMY nominees and ultimate winners each year. As well, members can propose amendments to the official GRAMMY Awards Rules and Guidelines, including proposals for new GRAMMY categories and major changes to pre-existing categories. Members can also run for a Recording Academy Board position or Committee, vote in Chapter elections, participate in member-only programs, and support fellow musicians through advocacy.

"Our members' active participation is instrumental to fulfilling the Recording Academy's mission of serving music and all people who make it possible," Kelley Purcell, Vice President of Membership & Industry Relations for the Recording Academy, says. "We encourage our newly invited members to join the Academy and take part in serving, celebrating, and advocating for their fellow creators year-round and drive positive change in the name of music."

Read more below for important information and upcoming deadlines related to Recording Academy membership.

Upcoming Events & Resources For Members:

For current and newly invited members looking for more information about Recording Academy membership, watch an Instagram Live conversation below and on the official Recording Academy Instagram page. The conversation features new member class invitees Myles Frost, Rap-Unzel and Chrissy Metz and is moderated by Ashley Thomas, Sr. Director of Member Outreach & Systems at the Recording Academy. 

For new members looking to maximize their Recording Academy membership, read our official membership resource guide to learn more about the Academy, our affiliates, and our membership and advocacy efforts. Here, you can learn how you can get involved with the Academy, including service and advocacy opportunities, Chapter information, annual programs, and more. 

Mark your calendar now: The Recording Academy is hosting our inaugural New Member Welcome Week to celebrate and welcome our newest members. Taking place Monday, Aug. 21 — Friday, Aug. 25, New Member Welcome Week will offer virtual and in-person opportunities to connect with your fellow new members and Academy leaders. Additional details will be shared soon.

Upcoming Key Dates & Deadlines:

Friday, July 14: Deadline to accept membership invitation to participate in the entire 2024 GRAMMY Awards process

Recording Academy Membership Overview:

The Recording Academy offers three membership types:

Voting Membership is for performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, instrumentalists, and other creators currently working in the recording industry.

Professional Membership is for music business professionals whose full-time, primary business activity directly supports music creators such as music executives (e.g., labels and label distributors, publishers, promoters, performing rights organizations), creator representatives (e.g., agents, managers, lawyers, publicists), industry writers (e.g., authors, journalists), and music educators (e.g., college/university educators, music/trade school educators).

GRAMMY U Membership is for students currently enrolled full-time in a college, university or trade school with a desire to work in the recording industry upon graduation.

Please join us in celebrating these extraordinary new member invitees and welcoming them into our Recording Academy in the name of music. Share the news of your membership on social media. Tag and follow the Recording Academy on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn and use the hashtag #IAmTheAcademy in your social media posts.

Learn more about Recording Academy membership and membership benefits as well as the Recording Academy's various wings and Chapters.

Read exciting reactions from some of the newest Recording Academy members and invitees below.