Apple Receives Technical Grammy — For many people, the Grammy awards are an annual event wherein the music recording industry congratulates itself for selling lots of albums, and shamelessly uses the occasion to sell a few more albums by putting some hot-selling acts and half-naked celebrities on prime time television. Beginning in 1994, however, the Recording Academy began awarding technical Grammys for individuals and companies which have made "contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field." Past winners include Les Paul (a pioneer of the electric guitar and multitrack recording), Ray Dolby (noise reduction technology), Digidesign (high-end digital recording tools), and George Massenburg (parametric EQ, mix automation, and other production tools).
This year’s technical Grammys will go to Robert Moog and Apple Computer. Bob Moog was an early developer of analog synthesizers whose instruments brought electronic music into the mainstream beginning in the late 1960s, while Apple is being praised for playing a leading role bringing computer technology into the process of writing, producing, and recording music. Although Windows-based PCs have made some inroads in the last few years, professional audio is one of those niche markets where Apple sells a lot of high-end hardware, and since the late 1980s Macs have led the way in professional and semi-professional computer-based recording (often in combination with hardware from companies like Mark of the Unicorn and/or Digidesign). It’s nice to see the industry acknowledge that Apple’s systems and inventiveness continue to play such an important role, although that merely adds to the irony of the record labels’ online music services not being compatible with the Mac. [GD]