Glory, Glamor & Grammys
Time for everyone to get over trashing the Grammy's
By Zoe Cordes Selbin, 2:07PM, Fri. Feb. 17, 2012
I didn’t watch the Grammys this year. Honestly, I haven’t watched the Grammys in ages, but that doesn’t mean I trash them or think they should be shut down. See, I don’t watch the Grammys for the same reason Nicki Minaj doesn’t come to my house shows; it’s just not relevant to our lifestyles. That doesn’t make either of them wrong.
I’ve often been in the unlikely position of defending big business in the music industry. I bought into the major label fairytale in elementary school, and didn’t discover indie labels 'til years later. Although I now identify with the DIY scene, I've also spent enough time working with larger companies like Warner Bros. to realize they're not the Antichrist. So maybe I'm predestined to cut the Grammys some slack.
Because what are the Grammys, really, beyond a night that rewards the top echelon of popular music – the 1%, if I may – with an opportunity to show off for the television cameras? Legends makes appearances and a few popular acts play together. And we all get the privilege of watching it from home, smiling indulgently at those wacky creative types and their hairstyles, and tweeting about whether or not we agree with the award recipients.
Anyone in the music industry can join the Recording Academy to become a voting member, but it’s still near impossible to break into the awards as a DIY act, especially the televised portion of the program. The Grammys have made an effort to reach out to indie music, but it’s still pretty negligible. Then again, recognizing small, hip bands was never the purpose of the Grammys.
Which begs the question of why my generation even bothers criminalizing the Grammys for being irrelevant. The Grammys never claimed to be about the latest discoveries. Of course that's precisely the reason the Grammys are deemed by many quarters as an unnecessary excess and therefore endemic of everything wrong with mainstream music. And I can see that. Yet the same people who get pissed don’t seem to mind when they get invited to posh parties tied to music festivals such as South by Southwest.
There’s a discussion to be had about the size of the Grammy's glorified high five fest being brought down a few notches to the benefit of other areas of the industry. But it's also worth pointing out that the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares already do a lot of great work.
I’m not advocating that we all start watching and caring about the Grammys. I just think the annual reactions of disgust are a bit much. I suspect that if we were all invited to the Grammys, or our bands made it into the awards, attitudes might change. When our bands are playing, when our friends are the legends, we too will want to show off our wacky hairstyles.
It’s okay to want a little glory and glamor. It won’t besmirch your DIY cred. Because just as never know when the Grammys might become more relevant, you never know who might show up to a house party.