Reported from Los Angeles by Phyllis Pollack
The Board of Trustees of The Recording Academy announced yesterday that it has again extended President/CEO Neil Portnow's contract.
It has been extended through 2019, it was announced by Chair of the Board Christine Albert.
Now in his second decade at the helm of the premier music organization, he became President of The Academy in December 2002 and was promoted to President/CEO in September 2007.
"Neil is a dynamic leader whose collaborative, inclusive spirit and extensive experience and relationships across all aspects of music and entertainment have delivered dramatic financial, cultural and philanthropic benefits to The Recording Academy and its constituents," said Albert.
Under his leadership, the organization has grown in many areas that include a consistent and significant increase in ratings over the last five years for the annual Grammys telecast.
This year's 55th Grammy Awards show drew more than 28 million viewers, the second-largest audience for the event's telecast since 1993. In addition, the show drew 24.8 million social media comments, a nearly 50 percent increase over the previous year, and the highest for any awards show this year.
A 10-year deal was made, keeping Music's Biggest Night on CBS through 2021, further extending one of the longest broadcast partnerships in television history.
The agreement also includes the continued annual broadcast of "The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! Countdown To Music's Biggest Night," and the addition of new Grammy specials. The concert is now in its sixth year
An online listening function allowing Academy voting members the ability to review nominated music was also created, as was developing Grammy365, a site dedicated to Academy members only, among other online and digital initiatives and enhancements.
As a sign of changing times, two years ago, it was through promoting her music on the new social networking site that an unknown musician, Linda Chorney, became a Grammy nominee, beating out other much more known artists.
A Grammy Pre-Telecast Ceremony at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live was also established.
A record number of entries in the Awards process in 2012 is a result of the consistently high membership numbers.
The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live opened in December 2008, in partnership with AEG. Since the Museum opened its doors, it has explored music history through more than 25 special exhibits, connected audiences to musicians and industry icons via 300 evening programs, and brought hands-on music education to more than 120,000 children and youth.
The Museum will celebrate its five-year anniversary later this year.
Importantly, the Academy luanched MusiCares' 20th Anniversary Campaign, the first ever for the charity, further ensuring that people who work in music will have a place to turn in times of financial, medical, and personal need.
Noted entertainment attorney and MusiCares Board Chair Emeritus John Branca and legendary record company executive Mo Ostin were the campaign Co-Chairs. A partner in the law firm of Ziffren Brittenham LLP, Branca has represented an unprecedented 29 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, famously, including Michael Jackson.
$12 million has been raised, due to a $5 million matching gift from Clive Calder and the ELMA Music Foundation, a significant gift from Olivia Harrison and the Material World Foundation, and other generous donations by noted artists, music professionals, and industry groups.
The MusiCares Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund was created in response to the devastating storm that hit the East Coast in May 2012, providing assistance and support to music people in need, with funds being distributed within 48 – 72 hours covering the most immediate and basic needs.
Additionally, in 2010, other music industry friends and partners joined MusiCares in Nashville Flood Relief efforts, raising more than $1 million and assisting more than 300 people to date. Countless instruments were destroyed in the flood.
Many recording artists, including guitarist Peter Frampton, had guitars that were damaged.
Expanding the Grammy Foundation's celebrated Grammy Camp program, a 10-day interactive residential summer music experience for music students that focuses on all aspects of commercial music, to include experiences in New York and Nashville as well as Los Angeles.
Grammy Camp will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2014.
Grammy University Network was created to give music students and students interested in a career in music access to programs, panels, performance opportunities, and leaders in the music industry, as well as other benefits, currently with a membership of more than 5,000.
An Executive Director was hired to further develop and expand the program.
The first-ever Music Educator Award to recognize music educators for their contributions to our musical landscape and their positive influence on their students' musical experiences. The inaugural award will be presented as part of the Special Merit Awards Ceremony in January 2014 (the night before the 56th Annual Grammy Awards telecast).
Future expansion and outreach, including plans that will focus on developing Grammy-branded music education and entertainment programs in China; the launch of a new Grammy-branded broadcast designed for Europe (to debut at the O2 Arena in London); and The Academy's first international Grammy-branded event in Mexico City in September 2010. Additionally, the Grammy Awards telecast is now broadcast worldwide in a record 193 countries.
Grammys on the Hill lobbying day was created as companion to the esteemed Grammys on the Hill Awards event, both of which advance the rights of music creators through advocacy, education and dialogue, and represent the most significant and unified music industry presence in Washington, D.C.
An alliance with the Recording Artists' Coalition (RAC) was made, combining the efforts of both organizations to amplify artists' rights on Capitol Hill, with RAC becoming a part of The Academy's Grammys on the Hill initiative.
The first-ever music CEO Summit meeting was initiated, which continues to be a semiannual gathering that includes leadership representation from key music industry organizations, resulting in new, unprecedented cooperation and collaboration between the various creative and business constituencies.
Groundbreaking and innovative social media efforts have been made, through The Academy's official accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, GetGlue, Google +, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube), engaging music fans year-round.
This resulted in establishing The Academy's first-ever Digital Media department, which has produced Grammy Live (72 hours of live coverage on Grammy.com leading up to the annual GrammyAwards telecast), and helping draw 4 million unique visitors to Grammy.com during the 55th Grammy weekend.
The organization has seen thirty-six Emmy nominations and 12 wins for the annual Grammy Awards telecast.
The Grammys became part of music history's story line, with its dramatic response to the death of Whitney Houston, just prior to a Grammy week celebration in 2012.
A Grammy documentary was produced, entitled "A Death In The Family: The Show Must Go On," which detailed the last-minute changes to the 2012 telecast, due to the star's unexpected death on the night before the awards show.
There has been continued collaboration with record labels, producing the successful annual Grammy Nominees CD releases, which have enjoyed record sales and chart positions, with a portion of proceeds benefiting MusiCares and the Grammy Foundation.
Portnow will continue work with the Board of Trustees and its Chair, as well as The Academy's senior management team to advance the organization's goals and purposes.
These include the strategic vision and the operations of The Academy and its related entities (the Grammy Awards, the Latin Grammy Awards, The Latin Recording Academy, MusiCares, the Grammy Foundation, the Grammy Museum, the Producers & Engineers Wing, and other programs).
Additionally, he will continue to represent The Academy to its many constituents and partners; serve as a trusted and important industry leader on issues relating to the music industry, including participation in national caucuses, seminars and similar events; and provide service/counsel to key domestic and international industry-related organizations.
In keeping with The Academy's position as an advocate for its constituents, Portnow will continue to develop and manage strategic advocacy positions at the national, state and local levels, both governmental and within music and its related industries.
Portnow has used the Grammys to speak about many issues that concern the state of the industry, including urging fans to pay for their music, rather than just download it without paying for it, when speaking live during the 2011 telecast.
Portnow's contract was extended for an additional four years in November in 2010.
Portnow has served The Academy as a volunteer leader in a variety of roles, both locally and nationally, for more than 25 years.
He was Senior Vice President of West Coast Operations for the Zomba Group of Companies (including Jive Records and Zomba Music Publishing), responsible for the overall vision and direction of Zomba's businesses on the West Coast, including sales and marketing, corporate and talent acquisitions.
He was also responsible for management of all of Zomba's creative talent, the film and television music division, Zomba Music Services, Segue Music, and Ingenuity Entertainment.
Prior to Zomba, he was Vice President of A&R at EMI America Records; Vice President/General Manager West Coast Arista Records; and President, Twentieth Century Fox Records.
He began his career as a musician, record producer, and music publisher. In 2003, he was honored with City of Hope's Spirit of Life Award, the highest philanthropic honor bestowed upon an individual by the world-renowned cancer treatment and research center. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from George Washington University.
Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers.
Internationally known for the Grammy Awards, the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music, The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs.
The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture.
For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com. For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @TheGrammys on Twitter, like "The Grammys" on Facebook, and join The Grammys' social communities on Foursquare, GetGlue, Google +, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube.