Musicians boycott CBS and Sue Grammys over loss of award categories

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Not happy with the Grammys apparent determination to recognize only songs that feature auto-tune, composer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria is heading up a group of musicians in organizing a boycott of CBS, as well as a lawsuit against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Sanabria and a slew of other musicians are protesting NARAS’ removal of 31 Grammy categories, and the effect that the move will have on exposure for a variety of flavors of music. The nixed categories, such as Latin Jazz, World Music, Native American, Cajun/Zydeco, Hawaiian, Contemporary Jazz, Traditional Blues, Norteño, Instrumental Rock, represented a great deal of mainstream acclaim for ethnic music, says Sanabria.

“This isn’t just about musical diversity, it’s about cultural diversity,” said Sanabria, who is a four-time Grammy nominee. “The fact that 70 percent of the 31 categories that have been eliminated by NARAS are ethnically or racially based is very alarming.”

On April 6 of this year, NARAS, without alerting musicians or consulting with its 20,000 members or Board of Governors in the Grammys 12 Chapter Cities, announced the elimination of the 31 categories. The boycott and lawsuit, along with a petition are the culmination of a musician-led movement started after the April 6th announcement. Much of it has been documented at Grammy Watch. Well known artists such as Carlos Santana, John Santos and Rachel Z have led their voice to the struggle.

Sanabria said that specific details about both the boycott and the lawsuit will be announced in the coming weeks.