|Two Grammys and millions of dollars! Good for you....|
There was a big brew-ha-ha over the recent decision by NARAS(National Academy of Recording Arts And Sciences...wow, it sounds so scholarly....) to cut the Latin Jazz Category(as well as many other categories)from the Grammy Awards. As expected, there has been outrage from the Latin Jazz community. The great Latin Jazz pianist Eddie Palmieri spoke out against it. Many have made accusations of racism. Some have suggested that the move came as a way to punish small independent labels. Indeed, the "restructuring" of the awards, which actually eliminated 31 categories, was prompted by an open letter to the industry by, oh what a surprise... A Record Company Executive!
First of all, I think that there has been a huge rift between what goes on at the Grammys and actual MUSIC. The music INDUSTRY now, in terms of what's considered POPULAR, is mostly Theatre Of The Absurd. Unfortunately for us musician types, this Sideshow of Mediocre Insanity does better numbers than real music making. I heard that some of the so-called Hip Hop royalty have been critical of the recent choices for Album of the Year (Herbie Hancock) and Best New Artist (Esperanza Spalding) because they didn't sell anywhere near as many units as the Hip Hop Artists. The problem is, the Grammys are based on VOTES by members of NARAS. Why can't we have a truly great artist like Herbie Hancock acknowledged in a Music Awards ceremony, even though he doesn't sell as much as the seriously over-hyped Kanye West?(I don't like his music, but I did admire him for his remark on live TV about "George Bush doesn't care about Black people". I thought that took guts. But then he tearfully retracted the remarks. So I'm back to merely hating his music.)
|Justin Bieber: Boy Band Of One...|
There's no reason that we, the people who have our own opinions, not ones that are forced upon us by advertising, couldn't demand an alternative. Maybe another way to do it would be to have jazz, classical, and other independent minded musicians boycott NARAS. Personally, I don't watch the Grammys, I don't buy any of that "music", and I've never been interested in joining NARAS. I don't know-maybe if I was a member, I could have more of a way to protest this trend. But obviously, this decision by NARAS shows that the higher ups could care less about their lowly dues paying members. It could turn out to be a mistake by NARAS in the long run. I believe that the trend should be, if the Grammys is truly a celebration of musical achievement, to be MORE inclusive, not less. Most of the award presentations don't make the television broadcast anyway, so why does it even make a difference? Are the Grammy statuettes made of real gold, and NARAS can't afford so many to give away?
As much as I have bashed much of so called Contemporary Music in earlier paragraphs, I do believe it has a right to exist. But if this decision by NARAS to eliminate these categories is a move to punish the little guy (which takes the form of indie labels), then obviously, they don't believe in OUR right to exist. Unfortunately, much of the public doesn't care; they only listen to what's on the radio or TV. But the internet could actually change that, and that might be our saving grace. The grass roots nature of independent online marketing can make a difference. And I believe that is what scares the big companies; they don't want the playing field leveled. The reduction of categories by NARAS is similar to the Big Auto companies killing the electric car and lobbying against public transportation; they don't want a real alternative. This is capitalism at it's worst. It's no different than gangsters shooting their competition. Maybe we can find a way to shoot back.
|Milli Vanilli: innovators in lip synching... and being terrible|