Neil Portnow

Last updated
Neil Portnow
Neil Portnow 06ac05b4-a87f-48a0-b11c-15836ec6b53f.png
Background information
Origin Great Neck, New York
Occupation(s)President of The Recording Academy

Neil R. Portnow is the president of The Recording Academy. Portnow was formerly the vice-president of the West Coast division of Jive Records.

The Recording Academy U.S. organization of musicians, producers, recording engineers and other recording professionals

The Recording Academy is an American learned academy of musicians, producers, recording engineers, and other musical professionals. It is famous for its Grammy Awards, which recognize achievements in the music industry.

Jive Records American record label

Jive Records was an American record label under the RCA Music Group formed in 1981 by Zomba Records. Formerly headquartered in New York City, the label was best known for a string of successes with hip hop artists in the 1980s, and also in teen pop and boy bands during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Contents

Early career

Portnow grew up in Great Neck, New York. He played the bass guitar in a high school rock band, The Savages, [1] who released a 45 rpm record "Cheating on me"/"Best thing you ever had" [2] on Red Fox Records. The record did not achieve serious commercial success, but was included in a compilation of garage bands. [3]

Great Neck, New York Place in New York, United States

Great Neck is a region on Long Island, New York, that covers a peninsula on the North Shore and includes 9 villages, such as the villages of Great Neck, Great Neck Estates, Great Neck Plaza, and Russell Gardens, and a number of unincorporated areas, as well as an area south of the peninsula near Lake Success and the border territory of Queens. The incorporated village of Great Neck had a population of 9,989 at the 2010 census, while the larger Great Neck area comprises a residential community of some 40,000 people in nine villages and hamlets in the town of North Hempstead, of which Great Neck is the northwestern quadrant. Great Neck has five ZIP Codes (11020–11024), which are united by a park district and one school district.

Portnow graduated from The George Washington University in 1971, where he served as president of the GW Student Association. [4] He began his career as a record producer although he has only four production credits and music supervisor. He worked with RCA Records as staff producer, and as vice-president of A&R at Arista and EMI America. He was senior vice-president, then president, at 20th Century Records.

George Washington University Student Association organization

The George Washington University Student Association is the student government of the George Washington University in Washington, DC. The SA is responsible for advocacy on behalf of the GW student body at and is modeled after the U.S. Federal Government and consists of three branches: legislative, executive and judicial.

RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music's four flagship labels, alongside RCA's former long-time rival Columbia Records, Arista Records, and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, classical, rock, hip hop, electronic, R&B, blues, jazz, and country. Its name is derived from the initials of its defunct parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). It was fully acquired by Bertelsmann in 1986, making it a part of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG); however, RCA Records became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a merger between BMG and Sony Music, in 2004, and was acquired by the latter in 2008, after the dissolution of Sony BMG and the restructuring of Sony Music. It is the second oldest record label in American history, after sister label Columbia Records.

Arista Records, Inc. is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment and previously handled by Bertelsmann Music Group. The label was founded in 1974 by Clive Davis, who formerly worked for Columbia Records. Until its demise in 2011, it was a major distributor and promoter of albums throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. Today, the label's reissues and catalogue releases are handled by RCA Records and Legacy Recordings.

Jive Records

Portnow moved in 1989 to Jive Records, where he oversaw the expansion of their West Coast operation. In this position, he played a small role in the careers of some of the biggest acts of the late 1990s and early 2000s, including Britney Spears, NSYNC, and R. Kelly. He worked alongside Jive's president Clive Calder who ran Jive's parent company, the Zomba Label Group.

Britney Spears American singer, dancer and actress

Britney Jean Spears is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress. Born in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, she appeared in stage productions and television series, before signing with Jive Records in 1997. Spears's first two studio albums, ...Baby One More Time (1999) and Oops!... I Did It Again (2000), were global successes and made her the best-selling teenage artist of all-time. Referred to as the "Princess of Pop", Spears is regarded as a pop icon and is credited with influencing the revival of teen pop during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

NSYNC American boy band

NSYNC was an American boy band formed in Orlando, Florida in 1995 and launched in Germany by BMG Ariola Munich. NSYNC consisted of Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, and Lance Bass. After heavily publicized legal battles with their former manager Lou Pearlman and former record label Bertelsmann Music Group, the group's second album, No Strings Attached (2000), sold over one million copies in one day and 2.42 million copies in one week, which was a record for over fifteen years. Among the group's singles, "I Want You Back", "Bye Bye Bye", "This I Promise You", "Girlfriend", "Pop" and "It's Gonna Be Me" reached the top 10 in several international charts, with the last being a US Billboard Hot 100 number one. In addition to a host of Grammy Award nominations, NSYNC has performed at the World Series, the Super Bowl and the Olympic Games, and sang or recorded with Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Phil Collins, Celine Dion, Aerosmith, Nelly, Left Eye, Mary J. Blige, country music supergroup Alabama, and Gloria Estefan.

R. Kelly American singer, songwriter, record producer and actor from Illinois

Robert Sylvester Kelly is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and former professional basketball player. He is credited for helping redefine R&B and hip hop, earning the nicknames "King of R&B" and "King of Pop-Soul". A native of Chicago, Kelly began street performing during the late 1980s and debuted in 1992 with the group Public Announcement. In 1993, Kelly went solo with the album 12 Play.

President of the Recording Academy

Portnow (to the left of US President Donald Trump) as the Music Modernization Act is signed into law in 2018 President Donald J. Trump signs the Music Modernization Act (45200025962).jpg
Portnow (to the left of US President Donald Trump) as the Music Modernization Act is signed into law in 2018

In November 2002, Portnow became the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) (also known as The Recording Academy) – replacing C. Michael Greene, who served as president from 1988 to 2002. [4] [5] At the 45th Annual Grammy Awards, he made his first Grammy night address as president.

45th Annual Grammy Awards 45th version of the American Grammy Awards, held in 2003

The 45th Annual Grammy Awards were held on February 23, 2003 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Musicians accomplishments from the previous year were recognized. Norah Jones and her song "Don't Know Why" were the main recipients of the night, garnering six Grammys, including four major awards: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist, plus Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album.Songwriter Jesse Harris received the Song of the Year award for his work on "Don't Know Why." Simon and Garfunkel reunited to open the show performing "The Sound of Silence".

Portnow led efforts to help musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina through the Academy's MusiCares Foundation. [6] He has also played a significant role in the digital music revolution, lobbying on Capitol Hill regarding artist compensation rights, particularly with regard to the Performance Rights Act, which requires artists to be paid for airplay on the radio. During the 51st Annual Grammy Awards in 2009, Portnow spoke about the election of President Barack Obama and encouraged his administration to add a cabinet-level position for Secretary of the Arts.

Hurricane Katrina Category 5 Atlantic hurricane in 2005

Hurricane Katrina was an extremely destructive and deadly Category 5 hurricane that made landfall on Florida and Louisiana in August 2005, causing catastrophic damage; particularly in the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Subsequent flooding, caused largely as a result of fatal engineering flaws in the flood protection system known as levees around the city of New Orleans, precipitated most of the loss of lives. The storm was the third major hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record to make landfall in the contiguous United States, behind only the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, Hurricane Camille in 1969, and Hurricane Michael in 2018.

MusiCares Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1989 and incorporated in 1993 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Meant for musicians to have a place to turn in times of financial, personal, or medical crisis, its primary purpose is to focus the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues which directly impact the health and welfare of the music community. The foundation's programs include emergency financial assistance, addiction recovery, outreach and leadership activities, and senior housing. MusiCares also offers hearing clinics backstage at several major festivals around the U.S. to help musicians protect their ears. Since 1989, MusiCares has distributed more than $48 million to artists in need.

Performance Rights Act

On February 4, 2009, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. introduced H.R. 848, the Performance Rights Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, 111th Congress. The Bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee and on December 14, 2010, it was placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 405. Under this Bill's version, performance rights was broadly designed to protect the civil rights of minority, religious, rural, and small communities with components to public access and education.

In May 2017, Portnow was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music. [7]

In October 2018, Portnow was present at the White House for the signing of the Music Modernization Act. Portnow had been a vocal supporter of getting the bill passed and signed into law. [8]

Controversy Surrounding the 60th Grammy Awards

In May 2018, it was revealed that money intended for the Recording Academy charity MusiCares was siphoned off to pay for the cost overruns of hosting the 60th Annual Grammy Awards at New York City's Madison Square Garden. [9] Later that year, Neil Portnow announced he would step down as President of the Recording Academy on July 31, 2019 after his contract is up. He will be replaced by Deborah Dugan, who will become the first woman to serve as President of The Recording Academy when she takes over on August 1, 2019. [10] [11] [12]

Concerning the controversies of hosting the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in New York, Dana Tomarken, the former Executive VP of the MusiCares foundation claimed wrongful termination. She alleges that she was fired for pushing back against the academy's "boys club". She claimed that by having the MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute to Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall, the event had to forgo its traditional VIP dinner and silent auction. She had already been offered a deal to have the event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Barclays Center is owned by AEG, which competes directly with The Madison Square Garden Company which owns Madison Square Garden and Radio City. Irving Azoff who then had a joint venture with the Madison Square Garden Company told Tomarken that the event can't be held at the Barclays Center and instead had to be held at Radio City. Oak View Group which is associated with Azoff received 300 of the highest price tickets to the MusiCares event at Radio City. Oak View Group was supposed to sell them as a package deal which also included tickets to the Grammy Awards itself. MusiCares was promised to received $1.5 million from those tickets according to Dana Tomarken. Those 300 tickets were never sold and were then returned to MusiCares, which resulted in a loss. [13]

Portnow also came under heavy criticism at the 60th Grammy Awards for suggesting that women in the music industry need to "step up". He later apologized for the statement saying that it was a poor choice of words. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

Grammy Award Accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States

A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.

John Scofield American jazz guitarist and composer

John Scofield, often referred to as "Sco", is an American jazz-rock guitarist and composer whose playing spans bebop, jazz fusion, funk, blues, soul, and rock.

Arif Mardin Turkish-American music producer

Arif Mardin was a Turkish-American music producer, who worked with hundreds of artists across many different styles of music, including jazz, rock, soul, disco and country. He worked at Atlantic Records for over 30 years, as producer, arranger, studio manager, and vice president, before moving to EMI and serving as vice president and general manager of Manhattan Records. His collaborations include working with Queen, the Bee Gees, Hall & Oates, Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack, Bette Midler, Chaka Khan, Laura Nyro, Phil Collins, Daniel Rodriguez, and Norah Jones. Mardin was awarded eleven Grammy Awards.

Albert Harry Schmitt is an American recording engineer and record producer. He has won over twenty Grammy Awards for his work with Henry Mancini, Steely Dan, George Benson, Toto, Natalie Cole, Quincy Jones, and others.

Latin Grammy Award accolade by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences of the United States

A Latin Grammy Award is an award by The Latin Recording Academy to recognize outstanding achievement in the Latin music industry. The Latin Grammy honors works produced anywhere around the world that were recorded in either Spanish or Portuguese and is awarded in the United States. Submissions of products recorded in regional languages from Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula of Hispanophone or Lusophone countries such as Catalan, Guarani, Quechua may also be considered. Both the regular Grammy Award and the Latin Grammy Award have similar nominating and voting processes, in which the selections are decided by peers within the Latin music industry.

Irving Azoff is an American entertainment executive and chairman of Full Stop Management, which represents recording artists.

Robert Kraft is an American songwriter, film composer, recording artist and record producer. As President of Fox Music from 1994 to 2012, he supervised the music for more than 300 Fox feature films, as well as dozens of TV shows. He co-produced the 2017 Score: A Film Music Documentary about film composers and the evolution of Hollywood film music.

The MusiCares Person of the Year is an award presented annually by MusiCares, the same organization that distributes the Grammy Awards, to commend musicians for their artistic achievement in the music industry and dedication to philanthropy. The award's name reflects the non-profit health care organization known as MusiCares, established by the academy "to provide health and medical assistance to needy musicians". Chosen by the MusiCares Foundation, award recipients are honored during "Grammy week" with an "all-star" tribute concert that helps to raise money for the foundation.

Gabriel Abaroa Jr. is the current president & CEO of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (LARAS), which presents the Latin Grammy Awards. LARAS was established in 1997 and the first Latin Grammy Awards took place in 2000.

The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year is an award presented annually by the Latin Recording Academy, the same organization that distributes the Latin Grammy Awards, to commend musicians for their artistic achievement in the Latin music industry and dedication to philanthropy. Award recipients are honored during "Latin Grammy Week", a string of galas just prior to the annual Latin Grammy Awards ceremony.

Michael Greene, the president/CEO of Artist Tribe and myMuse, is most widely known for his tenure as head of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), a role he held from 1988 to 2002.

60th Annual Grammy Awards 2018 ceremony of the Grammy Awards

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held on January 28, 2018. The CBS network broadcast the show live from Madison Square Garden in New York City. The show was moved to January to avoid coinciding with the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, as was the case in 2010 and 2014. James Corden returned as host.

Julie Greifer Swidler is an American attorney and music industry executive.

The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony is scheduled for January 26, 2020, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. It will recognize the best recordings, compositions, and artists of the eligibility year, running from October 1, 2018, to August 31, 2019.

Oak View Group a American global advisory, development and investment company

Oak View Group (OVG) is an American global advisory, development and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries. Based in Los Angeles, it was formed on November 16, 2015 by Tim Leiweke & his business partner, Irving Azoff. Leiweke is the company's chief executive officer.

Deborah Dugan is an American music industry executive and the President-Elect of The Recording Academy.

References

  1. "CelebrityAccess Industry Profiles". Celebrityaccess.com. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2012-06-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. "Turn Right To Open: Wyld Sydes Vol. 4". Turnrighttoopen.blogspot.com. 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  4. 1 2 "GW Magazine". Gwu.edu. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  5. Bernard Weinraub, "Recording Executive Will Lead Group That Runs the Grammys", New York Times, October 2, 2002
  6. "Neil Portnow, President of The Recording Academy, Delivers Statement …". FindArticles.com. July 8, 2012. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  7. "Berklee to honor Lionel Richie, Lucinda Williams, and Todd Rundgren at commencement - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  8. https://www.grammy.com/advocacy/news/music-modernization-act-signed-law-president-trump
  9. "Top Artist Managers Express Concern for MusiCares Amid Turmoil as Recording Academy Announces Record Dollar Distribution". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  10. D'Zurilla, Randy Lewis, Christie. "Recording Academy President Neil Portnow stepping down in 2019". latimes.com. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  11. Deborah Dugan to Succeed Neil Portnow as Recording Academy Chief
  12. BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPOINTS DEBORAH DUGAN AS PRESIDENT/CEO OF THE RECORDING ACADEMY™
  13. Was the Grammys ‘boys club’ behind the firing of two women at its charity?
  14. https://variety.com/2018/music/news/grammys-so-male-women-recording-academy-president-neil-portnow-1202679902/
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Michael Greene
President of The Recording Academy
2002–present
Succeeded by
Deborah Dugan
elect