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Recording Academy

Op-Ed: Harvey Mason, Jr. Gets The Gig

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Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!

This reminds me of Dick Cheney being charged with finding a VP for Bush II and then recommending himself. Huh?

The Grammy Organization is now no different from the Golden Globes. A cabal of self-serving individuals living off the largesse of CBS. Strike the TV show and you’ve got little left. But times change, and if CBS were smart it would look for a loophole to cancel the show of this travesty of an organization.

It’s a boys club, plain and simple.

A woman comes in with experience in the nonprofit world, with her own vision and…they can’t take it, they’ve got to return to the norm, of opacity, of manipulation, of no credibility. Hell, they hire Tina Tchen, Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, to find the perfect candidate, but they know better. As for Mr. Mason, he’s a person of color, so he checks that box, but where is his background in running a nonprofit? He seems to have been hired to herd cats and quelch dissension, and that does not move an organization forward.

And if you want to truly be horrified, check out Mr. Mason’s new salary…

They hire Heidrick & Struggles to look for a new CEO…it was just a diversion, why don’t the members of the Recording Academy claw back that payment from Mr. Mason’s salary, what a waste of money!

So, let’s see, you’ve got an out of touch organization running a failing TV show with so many awards voted by old nincompoops that they’re irrelevant. The voters are so out of touch that they vote in the leading categories based on publicity, not quality. Really, did Billie Eilish deserve another Grammy this year? It seems like she didn’t even think so. As for a Grammy’s impact on a career… There’s no longer a meaningful sales/stream bump, the industry has changed, but the Academy has not. Turns out everybody who is truly interested already checked it out. And n with the streaming model you don’t have the threshold you did in the physical world, where you’ve got to convince people to pull themselves over the transom by having multiple hit singles and awards…no, you can check anything out for free, when it’s happening, and it turns out those who weren’t interested before are not interested again when an award is given.

And who wants to listen to all these wankers thank God when everybody knows God had nothing to do with it.

And if you’re not white, good luck. Tell me again how the Weeknd is excluded? Oh, the secret committees! So now they’re gone and the truth is…all those Recording Academy insiders who passed Grammy nominations around, gave each other undeserved statuettes, are SOL. No, they didn’t want change, they liked it the way it was, where they controlled the Grammys and now…

Well, the Grammy organization was started back in the fifties. And what has changed…NOTHING! When the whole world has changed! Records start on TikTok, but you don’t hear about it on the show. How about a segment on a TikTok star instead of one of those retread duets that no one likes?

I mean you’ve got to change with the times, or you’re history!

Come on, want to buy a Compaq computer? Or how about investing in Sun? Even better, Digital Equipment, the ruler of the minicomputer world that never believed it would be usurped by microcomputers, never mind the smartphone. Change or die, but in the Recording Academy world…

So, Apple excommunicates Steve Jobs and is then run by…

A guy who sold flavored water. And a salesman. And…eventually the company is on the verge of going under. So Jobs comes back and what does he do? PLAN FOR THE FUTURE! A stable OS based on Unix, a slimming of the product line, a focus on consumers and creators… And speaking of tech, everybody in the music world relies on it, how about an explanation of Ableton or Logic or Pro Tools on the show!

And even the Rock Hall has a fan vote, but Grammys are sacrosanct! Hogwash!

Which is why anybody with a real career doesn’t bother to display their Grammys, at best they’re in the bathroom, whereas those on the undercard have got them right up front and center, they keep telling you they won, it’s like a student council member bragging of their achievement at the retirement home. The joke is on THEM!

The Recording Academy doesn’t need a placeholder, someone to make the trains run on time, they already did that, with Neil Portnow. And the end result is the organization took ten years, when our country was changing nearly daily via technology, to make sure it stayed back in 1999.

What the Recording Academy needs is someone to shake it up, move it into the future, question all of its principles and activities, but this might mean…someone will lose their job or influence, and that just can’t happen. That’s what’s wrong with America at large, business and society change but no one can lose out, everybody’s got to keep their job, meanwhile youngsters come along with no investment in the past and disrupt the entire enterprise and everybody loses their job.

Where are the skills Harvey Mason, Jr. brings? Does he have an MBA? Musicians can’t run Fortune 500 companies and the CEOs of the big public companies can’t make a hit record…but they know how to run an organization, they know not only how to manage people, but to keep the stock price up. And there’s no stock traded in the Recording Academy, but there are issues of credibility and relevance and Mr. Mason and his male cronies are doing a good job of running this vehicle straight off the cliff, they’re nearly equivalent to Van Morrison and his right wing ravings, wait long enough and the truth comes out, which is that there’s a cancer at the heart of the Recording Academy and the only way to treat it is to rip it out!

I don’t really care on a musical level. I never respected a Grammy win, never ever. But as a business lesson… When an organization keeps doing the same damn thing expecting a different result… When women are out of the equation, with no real power, never mind the interests of rappers… What you end up with is an out of touch edifice that can crumble with just one push.

It’s bad enough to see a world where almost half of the public believes the election was bogus, where elected officials are cowering, afraid of alienating them. But now we’ve got the Recording Academy doing the same damn thing.


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