Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Record Exec Slams the GRAMMYs

I have never heard of Steve Stoute before, but today I read the open letter that he published in the New York Times about the Grammys and how pissed off he was the Eminem did not win album of the year and Baby Biebs walked away empty handed.

Now, as you all know, I didn't think Biebs was going to win, nor did I think he should have and I am not on the rage machine also known as the Eminem bandwagon - BUT Stoute did make some good points in his letter that I do agree with.

The short of the LONG of it (as the letter was huge - you can read it here) was that he was pissed that the Grammys promotes the show by using big selling artists and then burns them when it comes time to hand out the awards to unknowns that are never heard of again by the mass public. He is basically stating that the cultural impact of the artist should also be considered.

I don't think that this is necessarly the right approach, but I do agree that using the cultural impactors, as one may call them, to sell the show is pretty hypocritical if they never plan on recognizing them as the best. Shouldn't the best be the ones performing and being the ones selling the show to the public?

Here is a little bit of Stoute's letter.

Unfortunately, the awards show has become a series of hypocrisies and contradictions, leaving me to question why any contemporary popular artist would even participate. How is it possible that in 2001. The Marshall Mathers LP – an album by Eminem that ushered in the Bob Dylan of our time — was beaten out by Steely Dan (no disrespect) for Album Of The Year?...How is it that Justin Bieber, an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist, did not win Best New Artist?...Interesting that the GRAMMYs understands cultural relevance when it comes to using Eminem’s, Kanye West’s or Justin Bieber’s name in the billing to ensure viewership and to deliver the all too important ratings for its advertisers...And I imagine that next year there will be another televised super closeup of an astonished frontrunner as they come to the realization before a national audience...that he or she was being used.

I agree and disagree...because a lot of the best selling music is absolute garbage that future generations will listen to and wonder what kind of crack we were smoking when we put it at #1, but at the same time the members that vote use the popularity of legitimate music against giving it votes. It's like hipster think...if the mass public likes something it must be shit.

UPDATE: Scott Rodger, manager of Arcade Fire, wrote an open letter in response to Stoute's...in it he calls Stoute's letter a piece of self-publicity and explains why Arcade Fire won...and that the only band to come close was Lady Antebellum. Truth. You can read the letter here.

I am so over the whole debate. This will be my last post on this matter (unless someone gets capped over it...in that case I will be shocked and in a writing frenzy).


Steve Stoute is an author, entrepreneur, advertising executive and American record executive, most famous for being rapper Nas's off-and-on manager since 1995.

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