Feb 21, 2011

Steve Stoute's Open Letter to Grammy Organizers - Not a Happy Camper

I'm inclined to agree that while great artists win the awards, the deserving artist doesn't always seem to be the one who walks up on stage to receive their trophy.   I have to look up how they choose the winners- it does seem like the artists performing are the ones winning, although I also think usually they have the best artists performing so the pool is kind of tight to begin with (best selling or best sounding, tomato...tomato...yeah, that only works when you're talking not when you're blogging it).   Who do you think should have won?  

I know I was surprised by Esperanza Spalding's win- I had never heard of her before but I feel like everyone on the planet has heard of Justin Beiber.

Eminem performs "I Need A Doctor" at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles
Lucy Nicholson  /  REUTERS
Eminem performs "I Need A Doctor" at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 13, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
updated 2/21/2011 7:19:26 AM ET
NEW YORK (Billboard) - A veteran music executive has lambasted the Grammy Awards as "a series of hypocrisies and contradictions," in a full-page New York Times advertisement that ran a week after last Sunday's annual ceremony.

Steve Stoute's open letter to Grammy organizers ripped the organization and its 12,000-odd voters for snubbing Eminem and Justin Bieber at this year's ceremony, as well as Eminem and Kanye West at past events.

"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," wrote Stoute, who is currently CEO of the marketing company Translation.

"Unfortunately, the awards show has become a series of hypocrisies and contradictions, leaving me to question why any contemporary popular artist would even participate."

"We must acknowledge the massive cultural impact of Eminem and Kanye West and how their music is shaping, influencing and defining the voice of a generation," Stoute wrote.Eminem, this year's leading contender, lost in most of the major categories for which he was nominated. Two-time nominee Bieber went home empty-handed and disappointed. Both West and Eminem have lost the coveted album of the year race multiple times.

As for Bieber, he wrote, "How is it that Justin Bieber, an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist, did not win Best New Artist?" (That award went to singer/bassist Esperanza Spalding.)   Stoute noted a connection between performers and winners, citing Arcade Fire's surprise album of the year win just after they had finished their performance.

"Does the Grammys intentionally use artists for their celebrity, popularity and cultural appeal when they already know the winners and then program a show against this expectation?"

There was no immediate reaction from the Recording Academy. Last Sunday's show, despite or because of the shocks, was the highest rated in a decade.

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