Friday, January 29, 2010


Cristy Barber, the VP of marketing and promotions at VP Records, was tired of seeing some of the best acts in reggae continuously overlooked every time Grammy season rolled around. Now, as Billboard reports, she's taken it upon herself to lead a campaign to educate reggae artists and producers about the market-based benefits that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences can offer.

Barber's already organized a January 21-25 conference in Jamaica, where she will meet with industry execs to discuss the Grammy nomination process. Her corporate gaze, though, extends well beyond Jamaica's borders, as she's looking to recruit 100 or more Recording Academy members from the global reggae industry to vote for the 2011 nominations. Currently, Jamaica has only one Recording Academy member, a shockingly low statistic that highlights how much reggae has been under (or mis) represented in recent Grammy nominations. There are some institutional barriers that hinder Jamaican involvement, though, most notably the requirement that all nominations be postmarked 2 weeks before they arrive in Los Angeles, an impossibly short time frame that has discouraged eligible Caribbean voters from joining the Academy.

Barber, who was once nominated for a Grammy herself back in 2005, and who presided over the Marley family's Tuff Gong/Ghetto Youths labels, has been lobbying for a rule change for years, and this year, she finally succeeded; in 2011, Jamaican members will be able to vote online via PDF ballots, which should help turnout. Still, though, Barber and others recognize the need to raise awareness from the ground up. She's pretty confident she can be successful, too. As she says, "Winning a reggae Grammy offers a level of recognition that impacts sales, radio play and concert demands, essential elements in establishing a new generation of reggae stars. I wouldn't be doing the genre, the artists or Jamaica justice if I didn't embark on this campaign."

No comments:

Post a Comment