While the hype surrounding the Grammy telecast was all about the feel-good story of Carlos Santanaís long overdue coronation (all of it somehow overlooking the song on Supernatural that takes its stand with immigrant workers), a bitter battle over Grammy finances was coming to a head.
Just by its very existence, the Musicians Assistance Program (MAP), which administers recovery programs for musicians, has been a thorn in the side of the Grammysí parent organization, NARAS. While MusicCares, the Grammy charity, spends only 10% of its money on musicians in need, MAP spends 56%. Grammy head Mike Greene makes $1.3 million a year, MAP director Buddy Arnold makes $98,500. No one at RRC has ever met anyone helped by MusicCares, while we often run into musicians who rave about how they got sober through MAP.
Last August, shortly after Greene was told that the major labels intended to give MAP half of the money from their Grammy anthology album, he offered Arnold a job that would be created by bringing MAP under the umbrella of MusicCares. After initial promises of MAP autonomy evaporated, a few weeks before the Grammys Greene told Arnold, according to the LA Times, "that he would have to dissolve MAP, move to the Grammy headquarters and report directly to Greene." Arnold refused and MAP remains independent.
Perhaps to make up for its unexpected revenue shortfall, NARAS has created two new for-profit divisions, Recording Academy Enterprises and Recording Academy Media Productions. The latter will charge clients, including MusicCares, for video production services.
NARAS has also gone to war against the LA Times, which has been pretty much alone in reporting the truth about the organizationís finances. When the Timesí Chuck Philips and Michael Hiltzik won a Pulitzer Prize last year for Grammy exposes, NARAS threatened legal action against the Columbia School of Journalism, which administers the awards. Since then, NARAS has hired private investigators to trace "leaks" to the press from its own staff, a bizarre move in light of the fact that, as a non-profit organization running a charity, NARAS is required to make its finances public. In a vain effort to keep its image intact, NARAS currently retains three public relations firms at a cost of $22,000 a month (more than the $19,736 a month it doles out to indigent musicians). And, in the latest step in its unfolding freedom of the press policy, NARAS refused to let LA Times photographers shoot the Grammys.
[from Rock & Rap Confidential/2000]
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