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10 Grammy Greats: The 2012 Nominees Making Waves in the Industry

With the music biz finally (cautiously) optimistic, THR takes a celebratory look at the performers and powers-that-be who will rock, roll and be honored on Feb. 12.

Dan Monick

The music business was built on the backs of rebels, from the teen who graduates from troublemaker to rock star to the independent thinker and savvy capitalist who turns passion into profits as a label head to the tech trailblazers who continually change the way we listen, buy and consume.

Today, there is no rule book, which is one reason why an artist like Adele can sell 6.2 million albums and have chart-topping songs on multiple formats: pop, urban, rock and beyond. The traditional two-year break between records? Gone, as the likes of Rihanna and Kanye West churn out the latest sounds while their last hit is still in heavy rotation. Looking to be a solo star? A cameo is your best bet: Just ask Nicki Minaj, who had nine last year on her way to fame and ended up selling 2 million albums on her own.

PHOTOS: 10 Grammy Nominees Making Waves in the Industry

Still, while 2011 posted the first year of positive music sales since 2004 (to the tune of 1.3 percent), whether that signified the start of a post-bottom rebound or an Adele-dominated fluke is being hotly debated as physical and digital album sales continue to decrease with song downloads not yet in the zone of making up the difference.

Everybody knows what's wrong with music these days, but for this special portfolio, the staff decided to pay homage to what's going right -- the innovators, the slow burners, the multihyphenates and the visionaries who, hopefully, won't screw it up for everyone else. THR raises its lighter to 10 Grammy nominees, who are making an impact right now.

Profiles written by Tim Appelo, Nisha Gopalan, Shirley Halperin, Steven Mirkin, Melinda Newman, Lacey Rose, Georg Szalai and Chris Willman

Items 1-10
  1. The Purists

    Dave Grohl and Butch Vigread more

  2. The Rap Consortium

    DJ Khaled and Catherine Brewtonread more

  3. The Survivor

    Glen Campbellread more

  4. The Double Threat

    Steve Martinread more

  5. The Country Rookies

    Reid Perry, Kimberly Perry, Scott Borchetta and Neil Perryread more

  6. The Supernova Songwriter

    Scooter Braun, Diane Warren and Donald De Lineread more

  7. The Traditionalists

    Joel McNeely and Seth MacFarlaneread more

  8. The Hitmaker

    Ryan Tedderread more

  9. The Indie Darlings

    Jeff Tweedy and Tony Margheritaread more

  10. The Crooner and His Backup

    Tony Bennett and Danny Bennettread more