For the first time in its history, the Recording Academy is quietly offering to waive its customary $100 annual dues for members who are experiencing hardship amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The offer affects both prospective new members and renewing members.
“Because of everything that’s going on with the pandemic, we realize that some people won’t be able to pay their dues,” Harvey Mason, Jr., the academy’s chair and interim president/CEO, tells Billboard. “So we have three options for people this year for the first time ever — they can pay no dues or they can pay their regular dues or they can pay their regular dues plus extra to cover somebody who might be having some financial hardship.
“If that [dues payment] was something that was uncomfortable for them at this time, we want to be sensitive to that. We don’t want to presume that we know how everyone is living right now or other struggles that they’re facing. We just want to be accommodating and allow people to join.”
Kelley Purcell, the academy’s senior director, member outreach, adds, “We didn’t announce it. We just wanted to make sure it was an option that was available to all of our joining members as well as our renewing members.”