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Apple picks up technical Grammy

Saying the company is "revolutionizing the way music is written," the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will bestow the award on the Mac maker Wednesday night.

Apple Computer will join the ranks of Perry Como and Joni Mitchell when the company picks up a Grammy on Wednesday evening.

The company is being awarded a technical Grammy by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for its contributions to the music industry and recording field.

The other recipient of the 2002 technical award is Robert Moog, an early developer of electronic instruments who created the synthesizer bearing his name. Past technical awards have gone to sound pioneer Ray Dolby, guitar designer Les Paul, and compact disc developers Sony and Philips Electronics, among others.

The academy pointed to Apple's long work with computerized music, going back to the introduction of the Macintosh computer, saying the company "is considered the leading architect in bringing computer technology into the studio and revolutionizing the way music is written, produced, mixed, recorded and creatively imagined."

Although the academy is recognizing technical contributions to music, the relationship between the recording industry and the technology industry has been somewhat strained--most notably in the area of copyrights and digital music. At the same time that technology has made it easier to copy and distribute songs electronically, critics charge that much of the copying to consumers' hard drives, MP3 players and the like is illegal.

Apple is one company caught at the crux of that conflict. Last year, when it released its iPod music device, the company touted the iPod's ability to store hundreds of songs. But CEO Steve Jobs also felt compelled to warn consumers not to steal music.