The Recording Academy® Producers & Engineers Wing® marked its 20th anniversary in 2021, and the organization continued to be busy throughout the year with a variety of informative virtual events and ongoing advocacy initiatives, offering important resources for industry professionals and serving as the unified voice for the technical creatives in the recording community.
Highlights include the following:
"Organizing Chaos: Top Engineers Discuss File Management" Jan. 22
At Believe in Music Week, which took place online Jan. 18–22 in lieu of an in-person NAMM convention, the Audio Engineering Society provided content for three streaming panels. One of them, "Organizing Chaos: Top Engineers Discuss File Management" was co-organized with the P&E Wing. The session was rebroadcast for AES members in March and then archived at the AES Live: Videos portal for on-demand viewing.
Three-part series, "Remote (Controlled)," Jan. 28, Feb. 4 and Feb. 11
This online series titled "Remote (Controlled)" demonstrated techniques for optimizing home setups for remote recording and streaming. Hosted by the Recording Academy Washington, D.C. Chapter, Part 1 focused on home recording for artists and musicians. The Academy's Los Angeles Chapter hosted Part 2, providing advice for artists and musicians on maximizing recording sessions while working remotely with a producer and/or engineer. Part 3 was produced by the Recording Academy Texas Chapter and covered livestream performances, featuring musicians, engineers and technologists to help viewers navigate complicated software and create engaging videos.
20th Anniversary P&E Wing GRAMMY® Week event on March 11
Since 2008, the P&E Wing has held an annual celebration to honor music studio professionals and officially kick off GRAMMY Week. The 2021 event was instead held online, due to the realities of the pandemic, but also as an opportunity for a celebration of years past. Attendees crowded the chat forum with comments, and the program generated plenty of laughter and even a few tears, along with – as is customary at P&E Wing celebrations – great music. Ultimately, the proceedings were jam-packed with the P&E Wing's highlights and accomplishments from the last two decades.
"Story of Muscle Shoals: Studios Scene & Heard" on May 6
The Recording Academy Atlanta Chapter, in partnership with the P&E Wing, presented "Story of Muscle Shoals: Studios Scene & Heard" on May 6 on Facebook Live. The online event discussed the history and legacy of the legendary recording hub of Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
"Iron Mountain Entertainment Services Archiving Summit" on June 9
The P&E Wing and Iron Mountain Entertainment Services (IMES) renewed their close relationship in 2021. As an official P&E Wing Sustaining Partner, IMES provides title sponsorship for professional development events and serves as a member of the P&E Wing Manufacturers Council. On June 9, the two organizations held a closed-door virtual summit, "Protecting Legacies: The Art, Science and Value of Music Archives," with music industry leaders. The summit provided participants an open forum for learning and sharing best practices, concerns, resources, and personal stories around the importance of music archiving. From this session, the P&E Wing, IMES and the Audio Engineering Society would release a survey addressing the current practices and challenges in audio archiving and the results would be announced at the Fall AES Convention.
"MixCon Studio Managers Panel" on July 19
On July 19, four illustrious and long-time studio managers, Curtis Daniel III of PatchWerk Recording Studios in Atlanta, Tina Morris of The Village Studios in West Los Angeles, Ebonie Smith of Atlantic Records Studio in NYC, and Zoe Thrall of Hideout Studios in Las Vegas, came together for a MixCon panel. This highly experienced group shared priceless music business wisdom, stories and good advice as they discussed the new challenges and opportunities recording studios face today. The conversation was moderated by P&E Wing Sr. Managing Director Maureen Droney.
Audio Engineering Society Conference and Convention events, July and October
The P&E Wing has a close relationship with the Audio Engineering Society (AES), serving as a key resource and industry voice at AES events. On July 1, the AES Modern Music Production Conference hosted a keynote interview with multi-platinum GRAMMY-winning engineer/producer Gimel "Young Guru" Keaton, moderated by Maureen Droney. Months later in October, the AES Fall Online 2021 Convention took place, and the Wing participated in two events. On Oct. 22, the Wing presented "Whose Job Is It Anyway? Collecting Credits in the Recording Studio," which highlighted the challenges of collecting creator credit metadata. Additionally, the session "How YOU Are Protecting Legacies: Topline Results from the Recording Academy P&E Wing and Iron Mountain Entertainment Services Survey" presented preliminary findings from the recent survey of the music production and engineering community on current practices and challenges in audio archiving conducted by the P&E Wing, IMES and AES.
Manufacturer Council meeting on Dec. 9
The fall 2021 meeting of the P&E Wing Manufacturer Council was held virtually on Dec. 9. Traditionally a biannual meeting, this group of industry leaders – that is dedicated to the advancement of sound quality and overall growth of the professional audio industry – share ideas and discusses issues of interest to all parties in attendance, with the goal of raising awareness about the importance of high-quality audio, credits and recording metadata, new developments in music streaming, and other related topics.
Advocacy initiatives continued in earnest in 2021, with topics of particular interest including immersive and spatial audio, studio disaster preparedness, streaming loudness, and much more. The Wing's library of standards documents is also seeing a series of revisions, and notably a new edition of the document "Recommendations for Delivery of Recorded Music Projects" and a set of immersive audio recommendations will be forthcoming in 2022, spearheaded by select committees of industry experts.
"The pandemic threw a bit of a wrench in our plans for our big anniversary year," remarks Droney. "But we were able to continue our various initiatives without much of a speed bump. Our virtual events were successful and well attended, offering an opportunity for many to participate who might not have been able to otherwise. Our key relationships – including with Iron Mountain Entertainment Services and the Audio Engineering Society – are ongoing, and major progress is being made on revisions and new editions of our Recommendations documents. Thanks to all of our members and supporters for a great twenty years – more to come in 2022!"
For more information about the Academy and its Producers & Engineers Wing, visit www.recordingacademy.com