Let me don my cynic’s cap and pen a few lines on the current state of the music industry as it relates to the Grammy Awards.
Allow me to preface this by saying that there are areas where this awards show gets it right. For example, their acknowledgment of legend type artists, and appreciation of those artists is great to see in the current climate of instant celebrity. One could question some of the classic + modern collabs we saw this evening, but it’s a great idea when it works. I must also confess to only watching the first hour, but there were more interesting must-watch shows on at the same time (Sherlock, Downton).
Music awards shows are less about artistry and more about special effects. They have become somewhat predictable – not who will win the awards necessarily, but the content you will see on said broadcasts. That’s less true for shows like the VMAs, where the performances are more or less all designed for shock and awe, a.k.a. controversy. Those shows are engineered to deliver media buzz, no matter what that would mean for the content of the broadcast.
The main objection I have about much of the music industry machine is that their focus is on creating stars, not on nurturing upcoming artists to be themselves and not a cookie-cutter of what’s already popular. The machine tends to spit out the same old type of musician and fixes those artists in bad ways. I am not saying that genuine talent is entirely absent from mainstream popular music today, only that most of the chart-topping tunes sound the same to me. Those songs may be ridiculously catchy tunes, but that’s about it.
If that’s ok with you, you’re entitled to your opinion. But there is so much great music out there to discover outside of what you hear on the radio, and I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to seek out some indies and artists that don’t fit in the award show acceptance criteria. You won’t be sorry that you made that choice.
More on this in future posts.