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The Recording Academy’s 2023 New Member Class Is 50% People of Color

A record-breaking 2,400 people have joined the Recording Academy as part of the organization’s 2023 new member class. Fully half of the new class is composed of people of color, while 46% are under the age of 40 and 37% are women. The Academy calls these statistics “a demonstration of the Academy’s commitment to remaking its overall membership.”

The Academy further said that the 2,400 new members includes 1,700 new voting members and 700 new professional members (people who work in the industry but aren’t involved in the creation of recordings). This brings the total current membership to about 14,000 – 11,000 voting members and nearly 3,000 professional members.

The Recording Academy’s membership model is community-driven and peer-reviewed to create a more diverse and engaged membership base. Since implementing this new membership model in 2019, people of color have gone from comprising 24% of the Academy’s total membership to 38%. The percentage of Academy members who are women has also increased in that time frame, albeit at a more modest rate, from 26% to 30%.

“I’m proud as our organization continues to evolve and build a membership body that reflects the diverse talents and backgrounds that make up our music community,” Harvey Mason, jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement. “Our commitment to diversity and inclusivity, however, is an ongoing effort. While we celebrate our progress, we also acknowledge that there’s still more work that must be done. Our members play a crucial role in everything we do, so representation is integral to our mission of supporting and uplifting music makers.”

The Recording Academy reports that the new member class is 50% people of color, 37% white or Caucasian and 13% unknown. The 50% people of color statistic breaks down like this: Black or African American, 28%; Hispanic or Latin, 10%; Asian or Pacific Islander, 5%; South Asian, 2%; Middle Eastern or North African, 1%; and Indigenous or Alaskan native, less than 1%. Four percent replied that they prefer to self-describe.

In terms of gender, 54% of the new member class is male, 37% is female, 8% is unknown and 1% is non-binary. Less than 1% replied that they prefer to self-describe.

In terms of age, 46% of the new class is under 40, 40% is over 40 and 14% is unknown.

All of these numbers refer to total members — which encompasses both voting members and professional members.

The Recording Academy also specifically asked voting members in the new member class to indicate which genres they are most aligned with. (They could choose more than one genre, so the totals exceed 100%.) Pop leads, as expected, with 41%, followed by R&B (29%), rock (23%), rap (22%), jazz (21%), alternative (21%), global music (17%), classical (15%), dance/electronic (15%), contemporary instrumental (13%), American roots music (12%), gospel/Christian (12%), Latin (12%), country (11%), visual media (10%) and seven other genres that each had less than 10%.

Jazz and classical rank higher than their market share would indicate. Latin and country, two of the hottest genres of recent years, rank lower than their market share would indicate; notably, the Grammy nominations that were announced on Nov. 10 were light on Latin and country representation in the Big Four categories. Latin was shut out completely in those marquee categories, while country was represented by just a pair of best new artist nominees: Jelly Roll and The War & Treaty (and that husband-and-wife duo is primarily associated with Americana). This brought criticism from people in the Latin and country fields.

Full statistics surrounding the demographics of the new class can be found here.

The Recording Academy reports that it’s 98% of the way toward its goal of adding 2,500 women voting members by 2025. It expects to achieve this milestone next year, a year ahead of schedule.

The final round of voting for the 66th Annual Grammy Awards extends from Dec. 14 until Jan. 4, 2024. All voting members, including those welcomed in the 2023 new class, are eligible to vote.

In addition to voting in the Grammy Awards process, members can submit product for Grammy consideration, propose amendments to Grammy rules, run for a Recording Academy board position or committee, vote in chapter elections and more.

For more information on the Recording Academy’s membership process and requirements, visit here.

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