Want a Grammy nomination for your comedy album and don’t want to sit around waiting for the committee to give you honors? Well, according to Barry Katz, you gotta work it…and drop around 15K.
Last week during the New York Comedy Festival, comedy manager Katz appeared on SiriusXM’s Bennington show to promote his Industry Standard podcast live events. Comedian Rich Vos was also in studio and took the opportunity to ask Katz how to get his album nominated. Vos said his brand new album, FIVE is worthy, and was looking for some advice about how to land the elusive honor.
Katz didn’t have a lot of advice for Rich, but he did share a story about how he went after and got the nomination for a client. According to Katz, long time client Jay Mohr didn’t become a nominee by waiting for the committee to come up with the idea themselves. He set out to get himself a nomination for his 2015 comedy album, Happy and Lot, and spent 15 grand to do it.
According to Katz, who prefaced the story by saying –“I hope I’m allowed to tell this story”– Mohr came to him and expressed that his goal was to get the album nominated. “At the beginning of the year, he comes to me and he says, ‘Barry I have one goal that you have to concentrate on this year. One goal. I want to be nominated for a Grammy award.'” Katz had never gone after a Grammy nomination before, and had no idea how to get it done, but said Mohr was adamant. “Katz make it happen,” he said. Katz remembered what Mohr told him about why he wanted the nomination. He said, “It means a lot to me because I think this album garners that kind of respect, and I think it gets nominated for a Grammy, not just for me, but for my wife. It will be a sign that this can be done and people can work on things together and do great work and it will be good for everybody.” Happy. And a Lot. was one of our favorite albums of 2015 and was somewhat groundbreaking because not only did Mohr’s wife, Nikki Cox write the entire album, but they promoted and publicized that she wrote it.
Although Katz didn’t have any experience pushing for a Grammy nomination, he knew he could figure it out just by doing the right research…and spending a little cash. “Everybody starts everything at zero zero and they have to figure out how to get to the next level,” Katz explained. “Now I wasn’t a Grammy expert, so I just did all the research and I gutted it out and I did hours and hours of research.” Katz found companies — management companies, and PR teams– who just work on getting that nomination, and teamed up with them for about six months, taking meetings and strategizing.
It worked. But it didn’t come cheap. “Over six months, I think it was probably $15,000.oo,” he said. “Obviously, I negotiated deals aggressively with these people because I thought if I could get them to that place, it would be good for them too. I negotiated the fees, 3,000 or 4,000 a month.”
You can listen to the clip below and hear Barry explain the whole process for himself. Happy. And a Lot. is still available everywhere albums are sold, and of course you can also order Rich Vos’ Five– nominated or not.