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Working the Grammy Angle

February 25, 2000 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

NARAS Details

Are you interested yet? Well then, let's talk about how to become a part of it all, shall we? There are 3 categories in which an individual may join the Recording Academy:

  1. Voting Member. This is where everyone wants to be, an actual voting member of the Academy. You and your peers determine who will be nominated and who will win by 2 rounds of voting. Professionals with creative or technical credits on 6 commercially released tracks or their equivalents, those who have had credits as either a vocalist, producer, songwriter, composer, engineer, instrumentalist, arranger, conductor, art director, album notes writer, narrator, music video artist and technicians are eligible in this category. Proof, such as photocopies of album jackets or liner notes, are required.

    As a game composer, most of us will be eligible in many categories, everything from songwriter, arranger, engineer, musician and producer. And if you have at least 6 tracks on a single game, or on a combination of others, you are eligible in this category.
  2. Associate Member. This non-voting membership category is open to those who are the creative and technical professional with fewer than 6 credits and those other recording industry professionals such as writers, publishers, attorneys, label staff and artist managers who are directly involved, on a professional basis, in the music business.

    By joining in this category, you are getting involved and showing your support for the process. And after you have your 6 credits, it's an easy transition to Voting Membership status.
  3. Affiliate Member. This category of supporting members are music students, music educators, music merchants, music therapists and others whose professional interests are closely aligned with the goals of the Academy.

The applications process is fairly easy, you just have to actually do it. From this link ( you can download the latest Adobe Acrobat file, you can email ( or call (310) 392-3777 for an application. Fill it out, mail or even fax it back, along with any proof of participation and membership fee and you are set. After the Academy's membership committee reviews your application and verifies your eligibility, you will receive notification of their decision.

If applying for Voting Membership, you must list your credits and show proof by way of a copy of the album jacket or liner notes. Associate membership also requires proof of what credits you do have (if you have less that the 6 credits for voting status) or send a business card and detailed description on your company letterhead outlining any professional affiliation to the music industry for consideration.

Other Game Music Award Possibilities

While NARAS is the most prestigious organization to recognized musical achievement, they are not the only ones who acknowledge excellence in our work. The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) offers the Interactive Achievement Award in the Best Sound Design and Best Original Score categories at their yearly presentation. This previously combined category was split after a proposal and considerable lobbying and followup by a now familiar name, Chance Thomas. This year's awards will be presented on May 11th, 2000 at E3 in Los Angeles. More information and membership information on this growing organization is available on their website, This is also a superb way to show your support for continued industry excellence. "If we will support and nurture this, our own Academy," Chance Thomas adds, "it will become meaningful to our careers in offering education, networking opportunities, legislative support and, of course, an award that means something to our peers."

Additionally, there are also several industry and magazine sponsored events which hold their own yearly awards competitions. The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the Game Developers Conference (GDC) Independent Games Festival and PC Gamer Magazine are among others which also recognize achievement in various categories including music and sound design.

The One, Two Punch

I know I've probably been preaching enough to everyone about our future as game composers and our need to be proactive in the quest, but for those of you who are still unconvinced or feel the Grammy Award is nothing but a reward to the political abilities of the elite few, consider this. Game music has evolved from its infancy only a few short years ago into a respectable art form and an entertainment dynamo. It wasn't solely because the technology advanced on its own or because the public cried out for improvements. It was because of us, the game composers, who fought in what we believed in, our passion for the power of our music and our dream to see the improvement in its quality and presentation motivating us. It was us, the little guys, who took the job over from the programmers who coded in the bleeps and bloops, and with our musical abilities and talents created more involving melodies and audio enhancements. Despite all of our previous shortcomings, we have finally taken an indispensable place on the team, ready to make shrewd use of increasing budgets and technological advancements. We couldn't have done it alone. The vocal few have paved the way for us, and now it is time for fellow game composers, developers and publishers alike, to take up the cause, as one, to lead us blazing into the next gaming century.

A famous military leader once spoke: "Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way!" Which one do you want to be?

I'd like to give special thanks to Chance Thomas for his wisdom and guidance for the accuracy of this article. His help and patience is greatly appreciated.

Aaron Marks ( is a sound designer, music composer and the proprietor of On Your Mark Music Productions. Look for more of his life story at

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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