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Neil R. Portnow is the president of The Recording Academy (NARAS). Portnow was formerly the vice-president of the West Coast division of Jive Records.

Neil Portnow
Neil Portnow 06ac05b4-a87f-48a0-b11c-15836ec6b53f.png
Background information
Occupation(s) President of The Recording Academy


Early careerEdit

Portnow grew up in Great Neck, New York. He played the bass guitar in a high school rock band, The Savages,[1] who released a 45 rpm record "Cheating on me"/"Best thing you ever had"[2] on Red Fox Records. The record did not achieve serious commercial success, but was included in a compilation of garage bands.[3]

Portnow graduated from The George Washington University in 1971.[4] He began his career as a record producer and music supervisor. He worked with RCA Records as staff producer, and as vice-president of A&R at Arista and EMI America. He was senior vice-president, then president, at 20th Century Records.

Portnow moved in 1989 to Jive Records, where he oversaw the expansion of their West Coast operation. In this position, he played a small role in the careers of some of the biggest acts of the late 1990s and early 2000s, including Britney Spears, NSYNC, and R. Kelly. He worked alongside Jive's president Clive Calder who ran Jive's parent company, the Zomba Label Group.

President of the Recording AcademyEdit

In November 2002, Portnow became the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) (also known as The Recording Academy) – replacing C. Michael Greene, who served as president from 1988 to 2002.[4][5] At the 45th Annual Grammy Awards, he made his first Grammy night address as president.

Portnow led efforts to help musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina through the Academy's MusiCares Foundation.[6] He has also played a significant role in the digital music revolution, lobbying on Capitol Hill regarding artist compensation rights, particularly with regard to the Performance Rights Act, which requires artists to be paid for airplay on the radio. During the 51st Annual Grammy Awards in 2009, Portnow spoke about the election of President Barack Obama and encouraged his administration to add a cabinet-level position for Secretary of the Arts.

In May 2017, Portnow was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "CelebrityAccess Industry Profiles". Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  3. ^ "Turn Right To Open: Wyld Sydes Vol. 4". 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  4. ^ a b "GW Magazine". Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  5. ^ Bernard Weinraub, "Recording Executive Will Lead Group That Runs the Grammys", New York Times, October 2, 2002
  6. ^ "Neil Portnow, President of The Recording Academy, Delivers Statement …". July 8, 2012. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2018. 
  7. ^ "Berklee to honor Lionel Richie, Lucinda Williams, and Todd Rundgren at commencement - The Boston Globe". Retrieved February 4, 2018. 

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Michael Greene
President of The Recording Academy
2002 - Present
Succeeded by