Michele Caplinger Sr. Executive Director at the Recording Academy – Atlanta Chapter

Michele Caplinger

In this exclusive interview, Michele Caplinger Shares How Independent Artists Can Be Nominated For A GRAMMY®

Please tell us where you’re from and what got you interested in a career in the music industry?
Moved to Atlanta from NYC where I segued from musical theatre to the music industry in the early 80s. Performed in original bands, recorded, toured and learned the business of music the next two decades (plus). It was a natural evolution; the music scene was so vibrant and fun!

What was your first job in the music industry and how did that opportunity come about?
I was booking live talent and doing publicity for cutting edge nightclubs (including the infamous Club Rio, etc.) but it wasn’t until a national concert promoter/artist manager Charlie Brusco hired me away from the nightclub business and taught me the REAL business of music and hired me to launch Brusco Barr Presents…

For those who don’t know, what are the differences between the RIAA and the Recording Academy?
That’s not a short answers, but we are totally different. THE RECORDING ACADEMY is a member based organization that produces GRAMMY Professional Development Events all over the country in Chapter cities and advocates for Artists Rights in DC and Grants monies to schools all over the country to assist with music education programs. THE RECORDING ACADEMY produces the GRAMMY® Awards, a peer award of excellence – where the award is voted on ONLY by its members and has NO relation to airplay, charting, sales or popularity. CHECK OUT – www.grammy.com, www.grammy.org and www.grammy365.com. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Pictured: Michele Caplinger and Grammy winning artist, Ludacris (Photographer: Rick Diamond)
Pictured: Michele Caplinger and Grammy winning artist, Ludacris (Photographer: Rick Diamond)

As the Sr. Exec. Director of the Recording Academy’s Atlanta Chapter, what do you do?
In addition to being a spokesperson and ambassador for the organization, I produce events for our members, raise sponsorship dollars to produce our events and support our music education mission and grant programs, identify those in our market who are eligible to become members of our organization, serve our members through professional development, networking and advocacy initiatives … cultivate and maintain an elected leadership board, work with ALL our national departments for THE RECORDING ACADEMY and our GRAMMY Foundation, MusiCares , etc. … work our national events, etc.

Other than the Atlanta branch, what other cities does the Recording Academy have offices in?
NYC, LA, Nashville, Florida, Chicago, Philadelphia, DC, Texas, Memphis, Seattle, San Francisco.

How are nominees chosen for Grammy Awards and can independent recording artists become nominees?
Absolutely! Because sales, airplay, popularity have nothing to do with WHO wins a GRAMMY – all eligible releases; independent and commercial releases are entered into the process by record companies and members alike during a certain period each year and the Voting Members of the Academy vote in two round ballots. The first round determines who the Nominees will be and the second round determines who wins the GRAMMY.

Other than the Grammy show what types of events does the Recording Academy host for its members?
Year round there are 12 Chapters producing anywhere from 12 – 24 events a year for its members – check out ALL the chapter pages on www.grammy365.com!

With so many changes taking place among major record companies, what area of today’s music industry do you feel could use the most improvement?
Learning to be open with technology advancements and change ‘old school’ mentalities about how we USED to do business.