Everybody has their own opinion about the Grammys- some people call it “too mainstream”, others “irrelevant”. Plenty of others legitimately enjoy watching the awards every year. My friends and I will frequently make horse race-type bets on who will win what award, and track our accuracy throughout the night.
Whatever your feelings, getting your very own ticket to the Grammy Awards telecast would be a pretty hard offer to say no to. Besides bragging rights, you’d be able to meet some incredible people and see some top-notch performances. Unless you’re already “in the know” in the music industry, though, getting a ticket probably sounds like some lofty, near-impossible goal, or even worse, a waste of time. Believe it or not, there’s a precise system you can follow, and the benefits go far beyond one night of entertainment.
The Prerequisite: NARAS Eligibility
- You’re qualified to be a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. If you’re a music industry professional (record label/management firm staff, publisher, songwriter, executive producer, etc), you qualify to be an Associate Member of NARAS, which is good enough to get a ticket. To become a Voting Member. you need to be an artist/musician/engineer with released work, and as much of the following as possible:
- (required) at least 12 tracks (not including intros/interludes/outros) available for sale in the U.S through “recognized online music retailers” (required) verifiable documentation about these tracks- liner notes, allmusic.com, etc. Established, active online/social media/website presence that shows evidence of performance history, fan base interaction, other relevant info about the band Active marketing and promotional efforts (interviews, press kits, reviews, etc.) Documented sales/chart information
“But Ryan, I don’t have all of that!”
Luckily, these requirements are actually plenty easy to fulfill. If you/your band/whatever don’t already have recorded music that you’re selling or want to sell, then forget this whole system- you have other things to focus on for now. But if you have music recorded, meeting all of the NARAS requirements are easy:
- Distribution could be achieved simply with a company like Tunecore or OneRPM
- Besides putting up credits on places like Bandcamp, you can create verifiable documentation by submitting your music to Allmusic.com via the Rovi Database. Heads up that this is a process that will take time, and require you to keep bugging them via email
- If you don’t have a press kit to show that you’re actively marketing yourself, build one quickly and easily using Presskit.to
Just get creative and you’ll be able to make everything happen.
Putting the Process into Action
Alright! If we’ve made it to this point, then you’re either a music industry professional, or recorded artist, and we’re ready to go. Now let’s talk a little about timeframe:
This post is being published May 2nd, 2014. If I wanted an invitation to the 2015 Grammy Awards, now would be the time
to start working on this process.
Now, if you’re like me, and you already have certain elements of the requirements taken care of (for instance, I’m listed on Allmusic.com, have my music distributed on major online retailers, etc), then you may not need to think about any of this until July or so. But assuming that you’re starting from scratch, here’s the timeline to follow:
May: Submit your music to a digital distributor, as well as the Allmusic.com/Rovi Database. Start building the optional, but recommended things like a solid website, social media presence, and press kit.
July/August: This is the time to actually apply to NARAS. Start on this page and follow their process to fill out and submit an application. Once your application is accepted, you’ll get a membership card around a month after. Heads up that there are dues to pay for your membership- $100/year last I checked, with discounts for paying multiple years at once.
Fall: Totally not a required step or anything, but try becoming active in the NARAS/Grammy community and meeting new people! Being a member brings a lot of different networking benefits, especially if you live in a Chapter city.
Early December. This is where things get intense. In early December, invitations are mailed out to all Voting and Associate members of the academy. There are, obviously, a limited number of tickets available, and membership is no guarantee of getting a ticket. But if you respond quickly enough, you’ll be able to buy your ticket!
Are there shortcuts?
Of course. The biggest and most obvious one- if you actually get nominated for a Grammy, you’ll get a complimentary ticket. Even better, if you’re a NARAS member who gets nominated, you’ll get TWO complimentary tickets!
But even on a smaller level, there are shortcuts that make the application process a lot easier. For instance, I have a deal with one of the largest/finest independent distributors The Orchard. Not only do they handle getting my music into all major online stores, but they also handle the Allmusic/Rovi submission as well (and even for them it takes months to get done).
Why would I do this?
Besides pure bragging rights, some sick selfies, the ability to VOTE on who wins Grammy awards, and the future potential to submit your own music for Grammy nomination, there are a lot of benefits to being a NARAS member. You’re now a member of a network that includes the most influential people in the music biz, and you’ll have a chance to meet other great artists/professionals at a variety of NARAS events. You can also check out the Benefits page on their website that includes 4+ pages of special deals/offers for members.
So that’s the system to follow if you want to snag an invitation to the ever-prestigious Grammy Awards! What do you think, is this something you would ever pursue? Leave a comment below and tell us why YOU would want to go! Also, don’t forget to suggest topics for future Music Biz System guides- what can I teach you next? (if your suggestion is getting more gigs- check the free 7-Step Booking Email Cheat Sheet !)