Audio Industry Leaders Gather for the Fourth Annual GRAMMY® Week Gala at The Village Recording Studios in Los Angeles
The P&E Wing's Annual Gathering Recognizes Achievements and Contributions of the Music Industry's Production Community
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2011) — On Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011, The Recording Academy® Producers & Engineers Wing® kicked off GRAMMY® Week with its 10th anniversary celebration event titled "Shaken Rattled & Rolled" honoring legendary producer T Bone Burnett for his commitment to excellence and ongoing support for the art and craft of recorded music. GRAMMY-winning artists Elton John and Leon Russell served as honorary event co-chairs for the event, held at The Village Recording Studios in Los Angeles. GRAMMY Week culminated with the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards® on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, airing live on the CBS Television Network, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
The event was held with the support of leading companies within the musical instrument and professional audio markets. Presenting sponsors included The Village Studios, West L.A. Music and Westlake Professional Sales. Co-sponsors included: Harman International brands AKG Acoustics, JBL, and Lexicon; Honda Acura; ELS; Avid®; Music Marketing; Shure Incorporated; Iron Mountain; Korg USA; PMC; Prism Sound; Mix Magazine; and Pro Sound News. Participating sponsors included: Beat Kangz; Focusrite Novation Inc.; Full Sail; Kurzweil; Nord; Sennheiser; and Ultimate Ears.
At 8 p.m., the doors to The Village were opened to a standing-room-only crowd of top producers and engineers, artists, managers, manufacturers, label personnel and other recording industry professionals. The evening's presentations began with a welcome from The Village Studios CEO Jeff Greenberg and P&E Wing Senior Executive Director Maureen Droney, who thanked those in attendance and all members of the P&E Wing for their dedication to the art and craft of recording. Droney acknowledged co-chair Eric Schilling who, as co-music mixer for the GRAMMY Awards Telecast was delayed by rehearsals and unable to make the presentation, then introduced P&E Wing co-chair James McKinney who enumerated P&E Wing initiatives and accomplishments over the previous decade.
After congratulatory videos from honorary event co-chairs Elton John and Leon Russell, Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow presented the President's Merit Award to T Bone Burnett. Burnett, a longtime proponent of the importance of sonic quality, spoke eloquently to the importance of both sonic and artistic integrity in music. [Extended excerpts from remarks included below.]
Droney stated, "The point of this evening is to honor the people who work behind the scenes, people who devote their lives to making not only great recordings, but also great sounding recordings. It's the fourth year for this amazing event, and it's particularly momentous this year because we're celebrating a milestone anniversary with many of our founding members in attendance. These days it takes a great deal of blood, sweat and tears to keep a recording studio open, and we acknowledge everyone who does that work, and makes all of our lives better by doing it. We also have to commend, and express our gratitude to, our sponsors, who make this event possible, and to Jeff Greenberg and The Village Studios for hosting such a wonderful night."
Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow: "There is a well-known saying, 'It takes a village.' All of us tonight know how true that statement is. We know that it takes a recording studio like The Village, and the skilled creators, producers and engineers like you, to make the kind of recordings the world most loves and respects. We at The Recording Academy know this well, which is why we are so proud of our P&E Wing. They're an important resource for us, and we rely on their experience and expertise all year round. Members of the Wing provide a nationwide network, and they all work together to move many important initiatives forward. P&E Wing members care about technology, quality, and most of all, music. So tonight, we are elated to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the P&E Wing, and all of the many important contributions, not only to The Recording Academy, but indeed to our whole industry. We are indebted to you, so thank you."
T Bone Burnett: "We are people who care about music and care about sound, and that fact makes this night all the more real to me. This evening has great significance to me, because those of us who care about music and care about sound are experiencing a shift. 'The market has spoken – people want convenience, and don’t care about sound.' Yes, the market has spoken, yet it will speak again. If someone doesn’t care about sound, he doesn't care about music, and I don’t want to make music for someone who doesn’t care about music. The record business made a critical mistake when it began to make music for people who don't like music. And it also made a strategic mistake when it rushed to embrace digital technology. To me, digital doesn’t sound as good as analog, and it never will. It’s an insane fact that, for the last 15 years, movies, television and games have been releasing their products with a higher level of audio than music releases. We have to stop that. We as artists should not allow our work to be distributed at such an incredibly low quality that it diminishes what we are doing and reduces the value to zero."
Burnett continued: "When we abandoned analog, we lost the chance to maintain sovereignty over our own work, and we have to get that sovereignty back. Fortunately, technology changes frequently, and it's changing at an ever-increasing pace. We’re approaching the end of the era of the MP3. Bandwidth has the will to make MP3s obsolete. And good riddance. It's also an important tradition in the U.S. that we record a set of songs from an artist, an album. It's one of our contributions to the world. We have to continue this. It’s not something that we can give away, and give over control of, so easily, to people who only care about monetizing it. Marshall McLuhan said that a medium surrounds another medium and turns the previous medium into an art form, as television did with movies, and as the Internet has now done with television and music. We now have to treat what we do as an art form. I look forward to working with The Recording Academy and with all of you to arrive at a new audio standard for the 21st century, and to explore the recording arts in their highest potential. Recording has gone down the digital road for some time, but that doesn't mean that the analog road does not have amazing advances ahead for itself. We can't abandon the world of analog sound. Guitars, drums and voices are analog. We are analog. We live in an analog world. The digital world is an alien language, great for word processing, but it can't carry waves beautifully and eloquently. We know that. It's incumbent upon us to let the world know."
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