Grammy Awards & MTV Video Music Awards
Why don’t the Grammys matter? Because it feels rigged and cheap - like a popularity contest that the insiders club has decided.
The 1st Annual Grammy Awards were held in 1959 and the Grammy Awards are since perceived to be something like the Academy Awards (aka the Oscars) of the music industry.
But just like the Academy Awards, the Grammy Awards often only reflect what’s popular and not what’s good.
There’s a bunch of different Grammy categories, and every few years some categories have been added, changed, or merged. The most relevant categories are:
- Album of the Year. Awarded to the performer and the production team of a full album.
- Record of the Year. Awarded to the performer and the production team of a single song.
- Song of the Year. Awarded to the writer(s) / composer(s) of a single song.
- Best New Artist. Awarded to a promising breakthrough performer.
Okay, but who decides if you will get a Grammy or not? The answer to this question seems to be quite complicated: Media companies registered with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) as well as some members of NARAS enter recordings for consideration.
At this point YOU will already be out of the game, because the media companies (which include the record companies of course) will enter the records that they believe will generate the biggest sales.
Independent underdogs will not be welcome. In the end the Grammy Awards are nothing but a huge promo show for the music industry, so it doesn’t make sense for those companies to submit anything weird or obscure for consideration if this won’t guarantee any high sales. They will enter recordings that are mass compatible (at least to some degree), as they hope the show will help to push their popular artists and to boost record sales.
Back to the submission process. The recordings entered by the NARAS members are being reviewed by more than 150 experts from the recording industry who also make sure everything’s in the right category. Not everyone always agrees here, and in 2016 / 2017 there was quite a dispute after Beyoncé got nominated for the Best Rock Performance Grammy, after she used a Led Zeppelin sample on a track produced by Jack White.
Voting members, which again are select people of the industry of course, will then vote for their favourite recording in each category. The five recordings that earn the most votes become the Nominees. Then final voting ballots are sent to NARAS voting members, determining the final winners. People are told to vote based upon quality alone, and not to be influenced by sales, chart performance, personal friendships, regional preferences, or company loyalty. – Please note that most parts of the last few paragraphs are simple re-writes of a few paragraphs from Wikipedia.
All of this sounds quite complicated, and at least it looks like they’re trying to do everything to honor quality and art. If you look at the album and song / record winners of the past few years, then you may also agree that the winning recordings are all quite okay, and some of them were actually really good.
I think the Grammys are nothing more than some gigantic promotional machine for the music industry. They cater to a low intellect and they feed the masses. They don’t honor the arts or the artist for what he created. It’s the music business celebrating itself. That’s basically what it’s all about.
–Maynard James Keenan (Tool)
But in the end the perception of the awards is completely wrong, as the media – including blogs, TV shows, and magazines – only celebrate those winners that are already known to the masses. Beck won three Grammys with his album Morning Phase in 2015 (Album Of The Year, Best Engineered Album, and Best Rock Album), but in the media perceived by the masses he was completely ignored while everyone was just talking about the usual suspects. If they talked about Beck, then only because Kanye West thought Beyoncé should have won the Best Album Award. So even if some of the folks behind the Grammy Awards at least try to honor some quality, the media act as a filter that makes sure that only the things that have already been popular in the charts will make it to the public, allowing teens and lemmings to celebrate their stars.
And if you take a closer look at the Grammy’s history, then you’ll see that in the end it’s only a pure bullshit award. David Bowie received only 2 Grammys during his entire career (plus 5 posthumously for Blackstar), while Beyoncé received a total of 22 and both Kanye West and Jay Z received a total of 21 Grammys so far. Quite ridiculous if you ask me.
If there’s anything even less important than the Grammy Awards – at least from an artistic point of view – then it’s the MTV Video Music Award (usually abbreviated as the VMA), an award presented by MTV to honor the best videos, just as the name implies. The VMA exists since 1984, it’s heavily targeted at youth, and the fact that videos as a whole are honored instead of the music alone means that the winners will generally be those with the biggest video budgets.
Back then people closed their eyes and listened to music. Today there’s a lot of images that go with the music. A lot of music is crap and it’s all commercial and the images are all trying to sell the record.
– Neil Young
The VMA are something like a huge circus, with most artists clearly acting as clowns. Everything is just about getting noticed and the entire show is clearly targeted at kids and retards. It’s a contest, the artist doing the craziest shit will make it into blogs, TV shows, and teenie magazines after the show. This is all this thing is about, it has nothing to do with art, and it’s really hard to perform at this show without making a fool out of yourself. Some well established artists who really don’t need any more money – such as U2 for example – are able to deliver a more or less normal performance here, but if you’re young or if you haven’t been in this business for a long time, then they will force you to be part of their clown show. The final conclusion should be not to worry about awards at all. A real winner is the one who doesn’t need all of that bullshit.