Grammy Award Changes: Says “Folk You” To Roots Music
I see that the Recording Academy, the American organization that puts on a television show every year that occasionally has something to do with music, has decided to make some changes for next year’s Grammy Show. In an effort to get more focused, whatever that means, they’ve decided to cut the award categories from 109 down to 78.
“Every year, we diligently examine our Awards structure to develop an overall guiding vision and ensure that it remains a balanced and viable process,” said President/CEO Neil Portnow. “After careful and extensive review and analysis of all Categories and Fields, it was objectively determined that our GRAMMY Categories be restructured to the continued competition and prestige of the highest and only peer-recognized award in music. Our Board of Trustees continues to demonstrate its dedication to keeping The Recording Academy a pertinent and responsive organization in our dynamic music community.”
And y’all all thought the “guiding vision” was a bunch of hogwash I bet. No…they take it all pretty seriously over at the Academy and so these changes will allow for a much better Grammy (or GRAMMY as Neil prefers) experience.
With the announcement that went out yesterday, we’d need to bring in Anderson Cooper to try and explain what they’re up to, but I’ll do my best to take a stab at it:
-No more male and female awards in pop, rock, country and r&b.
-Elimination of instrumental awards for pop, rock and country.
-Hard rock and metal is now combined to one award.
-Combined all awards that previously were designated either traditional and contemporary into one award per genre.
-Changed designation from movie or film soundtracks to “visual media”.
-Cut about six or seven awards from jazz and classical divisions.
In the field of American roots music, Best Americana Album remains. Ditto for bluegrass, blues and folk although the last two lose the previous separate traditional and contemporary designations. And poor old Hawaiian, Zydeco, Cajun and Native American music are all lumped together to form the new Regional Roots album award.
The other changes has to do with submissions. For example, if less than 25 submissions are received for any given category, an award will not be presented that year, and if the category continues to receive fewer than 25 entries for three consecutive years it will be discontinued.
I’d like to take this moment and point out that on this years award program there were only 10 out of the 109 awards presented on the Grammy televised show. Less than 10% of the musicians and composers were thought enough of to make the cut. Why? Because in their wisdom and research and their “overall guiding vision” to “ensure that it remains a balanced and viable process” the Recording Academy has chosen not to focus on spreading the wonder and joy of music, nor the creation and work that goes into it. No…they prefer to focus on pandering to the lowest common denominator and walking hand in hand with the major media corporations that control what you hear and see in order to sell more advertising and to continue to separate music into two categories: things that sell a ton and things that don’t.
So the American Roots field has fallen from seven awards to four. Fortunately we didn’t have any male and female distinctions or we would have lost that too. “Hey”…I hear you shouting…”we had the Avetts and Mumford and Son and Dylan and Arcade Fire this year. Isn’t that something?” Sure it is and we should be grateful for it. I think so, and heck…they even put the camera on a smiling (most likely stoned) Neil and Pegi Young a couple of times too. Hallelujah.
I admit that this news isn’t all that earth shattering what with the economic crises, earthquake, nuclear fallout, war, floods, fires, famine or Charlie Sheen. But in other news, buried on page four of yesterday’s Billboard, notorious bit torrent site Pirate Bay announced that they have signed up their 5,000,000th member. And you don’t have to be a member to download, so there are millions and millions more people who continue to get their music illegally. As someone once said, “Rome is burning and Nero is fiddlin’ around”.