Justin Bieber and rapper Eminem were left stewing in their seats at the Grammys when Best New Artist and Album of the Year were announced. Now at least one music industry executive is lashing back.
Steve Stoute, a veteran music and marketing exec, slammed the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) which hands out the Grammys, for being out of touch with “popular culture.” (What else is new?)
Stoute just didn’t fire off a Tweet, he took out a full-page ad in Sunday’s The New York Times, which typically costs as much as $100,000.
Among other things Stoute criticized the Grammys for calling on Eminem and Justin to perform to juice ratings, without recognizing their music.
Stoute, for all his so-called industry experience, doesn’t seem to realize that the Academy is at the mercy of its voters when it comes to awards, which has nothing to do with the show’s production.
The show drew 26.7 million viewers, the largest audience since 2001.
But only members of NARAS, who tend to be older, vote for the award nominees. As such, older and sometimes obscure acts can snag honors at the expense of newer, popular acts.
It’s what makes the Grammys unpredictable. Also artists are recognized for their art, not their commercial success.
“Over the course of my 20-year history as an executive in the music business and as the owner of a firm that specializes in in-culture advertising, I have come to the conclusion that the Grammy Awards have clearly lost touch with contemporary popular culture,” Stoute wrote in an open letter to the academy.
“Where I think that the Grammys fail stems from two key sources: (1) over-zealousness to produce a popular show that is at odds with its own system of voting and (2) fundamental disrespect of cultural shifts as being viable and artistic,” he added.
“Just so that I’m not showing partiality to hip-hop artists, how is it that Justin Bieber, an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist, did not win Best New Artist?”
“Again, his cultural impact and success are even more quantifiable if you factor in his YouTube and Vevo viewership — the fact that he was a talent born entirely of the digital age whose story was crafted in the most humble method of being ‘discovered’ purely for his singing ability,” he wrote.
“The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences hides behind the ‘peer’ voting system to escape culpability for not even rethinking its approach.
“And I imagine that next year there will be another televised super-close-up of an astonished front-runner as they come to the realization before a national audience… that he or she was used.” he chastised.
To read the full letter, check out Steve Stoute here.