Earlier this month the Grammy Awards were held in Los Angeles and in keeping with previous years, there was controversy. Following the awards there was a great deal of talk concerning the lack of female recipients this year. In response to this observation the president of the recording academy, Neil Portnow, asserted that women needed to step-up if they wanted to receive Grammies in the future.Some industry insiders criticized Portnow and even called for his resignation. Amongst these critics was Desiree Perez, the Chief Operating Officer of RocNation. Perez is one of only a few female executives in the industry and is one of the most powerful voices.
Upon learning of Neil Portnow’s stance on the absence of female representation among this year’s Grammy winners, Perez along with other executives wrote a letter to the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy. In this letter, Perez accuses the Academy of being misinformed and out-of-touch with recording artists and the trajectory of today’s music. These declarations made by Perez are powerful because of the amount of respect that she has garnered in an industry dominated by men.
Desiree Perez has developed a strong reputation as a master negotiator who was largely responsible for the $200 million investment made by Sprint into the online streaming company TIDAL which is affiliated with RocNation.Although Perez and the other executives did not ask Portnow to step down, the letter did get the attention of the recording academy and it has vowed to create a taskforce to evaluate how winners are chosen in the future. People like Desiree Perez are an asset a music industry that often perpetuates misogyny. Hopefully Perez will continue to change the way that people think about the capabilities and importance of women in the music industry.