During the Grammy Awards earlier this year, viewers quickly noticed that women were almost completely shut out of the major award categories except for Alessia Cara’s Best New Artist win, with Lorde even being the only Album Of The Year nominee not invited to perform live on the show. A backlash began to form with the hashtag “#GrammysSoMale,” and it built up enough steam that Recording Academy president Neil Portnow decided to pop up and explain that women didn’t win very many Grammys this year because they need to “step up” creatively. His comment was not received well, to say the least, with a group of female record executives declaring in an open letter that the Recording Academy is “woefully out of touch with today’s music, the music business, and even more significantly, society.”
Now, the Recording Academy has announced that Portnow will be stepping down next year when his contract expires. That’s according to Billboard, which says Portnow will remain with the Recording Academy until next July, with his successor most likely being named at some point next summer. In a statement, Portnow highlighted the importance of “evolution” in longstanding institutions and noted that he hopes to orchestrate a “thoughtful, well-planned, and collegial transition,” which seems to acknowledge the “step up” controversy without directly addressing it.