As they snub favourite artists such as The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar from their acclaimed prizes, sift through the mud of allegations from racism, sexism and a lack in diversity to artist picks – it shows just howunfit they are as judges to music.
With the Grammys receiving such a subjective onslaught each year and as interest rates fall on their overall importance as awards, do the Grammys even matter anymore?
Short answer simply is: no.
Unlike the Oscars, the prestigious academy award for music has seemingly lost its original tact, and is out of touch with the rest of the world. Unlike the Oscars that actually awards films based on glowing prospects, reputations and sheer camera-rolling etiquette, The Grammys is a congruent cess-pit of odd nominations, shameless bigotry and is showing a side to the music industry that is rather ugly.
With so many prestigious and culturally-defining artists in the industry that have been snubbed of such an award (Queen, Bjork, ABBA and Jimi Hendrix to name a few) it is easy to understand why The Grammys has been scrutinised for their lack of desire to produce a decent academy award show to celebrate the best of music – as they choose to instead award their “white friends and counterparts” in the industry – and receive backlash of racism and bigotry because of it – and not the distinctive artists that have made a impact against the status quo of the industry.
Because if they start awarding acts who go against the “system” of upending gender stereotypes (Queen) and make albums that go against their specified genre (The Weeknd) what does that say about the system of the industry itself? Something that cannot be controlled it seems …
But its important to note that something like the Grammys is not so definitely clean-cut like other competitions like the Olympics. When it comes to who sang the most impressive or made a defining moment to the world of music, well then, that becomes a bit more objective. With it, comes the usual backlash and sparks of fury as such an award because it is such an opinionated sport.
But to me, I think this is what makes Grammys not matter most, because at the end of it all, while it is fun to see who will win a Grammy, it ultimately doesn’t affect how we (me included) view an artists’ work. When we listen to a piece of work, do we define how “good” it is if it won a Grammy? No, we think it’s good because it’s simply good music. For me, they are not one and the same.
So with that being said, I think that the sheer novelty of awarding music based on something so objective certainly makes it an easier target than most other award shows. But, let’s be honest, they haven’t helped themselves in the past, have they?
Let me know what you think to this topic of conversation – and more importantly, will you be watching tonight?
Former suspended CEO stating on how ‘rigged’ the ceremony is …
Grammy’s controversial moments show just how implausible it is as an awards ceremony …
“If anything at all, music is the soundtrack of your life. Music are those memories that stay with you within the verses. Simply put, the only truth in it all is the music. You can’t lie with music – it’s all there, laid out for all to see. Music is a unity for us all to embrace.
A hundred people can relate to a song a million different ways – and we can all still sing it and relate to one another. Whether that be one’s living room or in a summers’ field, music joins us together and makes us whole.
Down for a cry? Down for a laugh? Stick some of your faves and go either way with it.”
After exactly a year has passed since I graduated – and since we have more time on our hands than ever – I’d thought I would share with you all on why the industry may be hardest to ‘make it’ into. Especially for up and comers like we all are.
COVID – aside, of course, as we all know the devastating impact that has had on the industry.
1. The Industry Advice
Now, whether or not you are an avid musician, a wanna-be producer, or simply a DJ who likes pressing buttons, we’ve all received our fair share of advice and how-tos on ‘making it’ into the music industry either personally or online. What seems like an industry that actually doesn’t want you to make it with it’s continuous closed doors remaining shut, it all seems like the advice you receive is all make-believe, right?
Whether that is advice to purchase that equipment that you must buy – but can’t afford – or just to ‘remain patient and hold out,’ it seems that most of it is all smoke and mirrors.
Now, I’ve certainly got to be honest with you lot. For the majority of the time, I’ve been terrified. Ever since walking down this musical path with trepidation back in 2016, I’ve felt such a tremendous weight on my shoulders. Now, don’t get me wrong, family and friends are excited for you – but albeit hesitant that it will even resemble a career further down the line. Now, being in such a lucrative but creative space, I am aware that it will take just a bit longer than other more accessible career interests.
It’s certainly not as concrete if you venture down the path of business, say. That way, you get your concrete degree – maybe a masters too – you bag yourself a post-uni job, and there you are, you’re in the races.
But, with the music industry, with it’s horrendous use of its ‘volunteering’ tarnishing any reputation of having these post-uni opportunities, it seems to not offer any.
And so, from myself, I’ve loosely strung together what might the industry is probably not divided up into.
2. The Five Industry Sections (according to no-one but myself)
RECORDED MUSIC – this is where you’ve got your producers, sound engineers, session musicians and so on. Quite possibly the section where it is the most common for solo musicians to become session musicians, I’d say, right? Since anyone can hire out a studio for a day or two, you can always get the ball rolling with your name and away you go.
LIVE MUSIC – this is where you’ve got pretty much the whole shebang – the musicians, the roadies, the sound engineers, the technicians, the stage hands, the security, the planners, and of course the agents, or whatever they call themselves these days. Sad as it sounds, I’ve always wanted to be a roadie. Enjoying to be part of the live experience, but not feeling any of the goosebumps that go with it.
‘WRITING’ MUSIC – this is where I’ve used the term ‘written’ in its most loose sense. Here, you’ve got your music bloggers, journalists, photographers, the press, editors and publishers, all writing music rather than listening to it. I’ve got to be honest, this is a section where I’ve been striving to get into, ever since I realised music and writing can be put together in the same sentence.
MARKETING MUSIC – this is where you’ve got the whizz heads, the marketing strategists, the PR, the advertisers who are thinking of some outlandish scheme to get that artist on that billboard or that artist in your feed on Facebook. Another section that is quite fascinating but of course, like mentioned earlier, you’ve got the music part, what about the marketing part? Of course, I did some voluntary part-time work during my degree involving social media and marketing, but what about the academic skill of marketing? The tricks and tips that only graduates would know, surely?
‘ANYTHING GOES’ MUSIC – like most uni graduates, this is where I (and you, maybe) come in. The keen graduates hoping for anything that goes by our way. Whether that’s picking up the slack at a bar in live music venue, working on the phones in a music licensing company, or simply just sharing stuff in the hope that you out of the one other thousand followers are pushed into the spotlight.
. This section is basically where you think you have a foot in the door, but in actuality, it’s more like your stubby little toe, barely hanging in there before it’s closed again. Let’s be honest, you’re there simply because it has music involved in the job description, right? It’s the jobs where they are relying on the keen and avid musicians to pick them up, simply because it makes them look better as a business. Sad, but upon reflection – true.
3. Music Degree: The Passion Problem
But of course, I don’t want to sit here and rant like an old bitter man, simply because I am envious of those who have made it. No, no, no.
I’m simply ranting on how it’s impacted me personally. If anything, I’m enthralled and engrossed to the musicians that make it that bit closer to the end.
Taking a rather ‘loose‘ degree like Music, has made me realise that it doesn’t necessarily cover you for any section for what you wish to go in. You always have to have that bit extra. Music is the underlying foundation, basically informing you of your employees that you are passionate for it enough to take it as a degree.
Then, there is the other notion. You can perform live, produce sounds in the studio, develop managing events without the need for a certificate at the end of it. Of course, the only anomaly I can think of is if you wish to teach music.
While I am enviously trying to lift this blog idea off the ground, it seems all a moot point if I don’t have any academic accolades to my name surrounding writing, you know?
You would hope that the employee loves all that passionate ploy, and just disregards the fact that you’ve got no ‘professional‘ writing to your name either through journalistic routes or otherwise.
4. The ‘It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know‘ Saying
Of course, we have to mention this phrase when we talk bout the music industry and I think this industry is the most guilty – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
With this tandem in place, one does not need to be an expert to simply become an expert. With this being said, that position can be simply filled by the recommended rather than the right.
Of course, the music industry relies on good relationships for good results and the producer on the track will more likely opt for the session musician who is far less egotistical than the musician who is not, right?
If they go for the safe and familiar, how do the newbies stand a chance?
5. The Problem With Volunteering
Then there is the good old advice of ‘don’t do free shows.’ But, with that thinking, how do we expect to get ourselves out there if we don’t do the odd volunteering role here or there? For me, I don’t mean to sound like a bitter old man, but the volunteering roles I did – odd festival and single casual event help – did not really benefit.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not expecting a participation award of some kind, but rather you know, a saving of your contact perhaps for any future events that may happen? This will perhaps get your name out there a bit and really hone in on the “who you know’ etiquette.
It is no wonder that the music industry has such a reputation for keeping those doors for opportunity shut. For some out there, volunteering in the industry is merely for them to make up the numbers, rather than actually providing worthy experience. For most, it would seem that an academic route is more viable for most musicians planning to make into the industry – whether that is a masters going down a tighter path of interest or taking advanced courses to boost the skillset, rather than turning up at a studio or a live gig hoping for them to return the favour. When it comes down to it though, it is just down to the luck of the draw, right?
Above all else though, what I’ve seen, been advised and informed to do is simply hold out, keep doing what you are doing, til something lucky comes your way. That may not be the best solution right now, granted, but certainly seems the best option without giving yourself false hope that you will be playing at Glastonbury during next summer.
But, whatever the advice given to us – be patient, be yourself, be confident, be assured. God’s honest truth, I think it’s best if we stick to just that, right?
Maybe it’s this attitude that is tarnishing the reason why the music industry is hard to get into. Amongst the usual things like lack of prospects and opportunities, lack of volunteering roles providing that opportunity, maybe it is just a case of getting your name out there more, staying in touch with local musicians and your local scene. Take every day as it comes for yourself, and enjoy the fact that music is music and you love it.
Creativity is not a competition after all, right? Then, it maybe, just maybe creep up on you and you land a role which you’ve always wanted to land. Maybe. Worth a shot, at least right?
The world is full of musicians who can play great, and you wouldn’t cross the road to see them. It’s the people who have this indefinable attitude that are the good ones.
Nick Lowe, musician, producer
I should stop ranting on this thing, pick up the sticks and get back on the drum kit and get working.
Does the cover art reflect your general mood to the music?
Does it influence how you listen to the music?
Or does it simply annoy or not benefit you when the music does not match the cover art at all?
… And when does the cover become more important than the music itself?
Hey all! I decided to introduce a new segment into my daily uploads on here, deeming it a title of “Let’s Talk” where we well, talk. About? I’ve not idea. Whatever comes to my mind first, to be honest. But it’ll mostly all about music and its industry. This week, I figured we could start out with a very opinionated subject in the music world. Music and the importance of cover art.
Often, I sit there wondering with an album and its related cover art, how it reflects the feel and the sound of the album so flawlessly. Obviously, cover art in itself is meant to represent the music behind them, and regardless of the point of playing music in the first place, their involvement is not all that important, but surely some must point you in a general direction, right?
Let’s talk. Let me know if you have a fond passion of cover art to its reflective music …
or if you simply just like the pretty colours they picked.
That’s right. We now have less of an attention span than our fishy friend here.
The online world is strife with content that fights and depends on your attention for merely a minute. (If the above is true, I have lost your attention already.) As every hour passes, avid creators and consumers on the Internet are finding new ways to grab your attention quicker and sooner. Like greedy street sellers, they implore with you, relate with you and confide in you to click, consume and buy with every passing minute and passing hour. Is it any wonder that 30-second videos with TikTok and Instagram Reels has become such a tenacious force? We can’t keep up with anything else. As our attention spans falter furthermore with the presence of these social media outlets that clog and litter up the consumption of culture, the ‘stream-ability’ of music has no doubt come at a cost for the musicality, too.
If consumers can’t keep watching the same video for 3 minutes – how do the expect the same said consumers to listen to a song of the same length?
One person’s gain comes at another’s expense – and this has always been the case for the music industry. With the confines of streaming becoming a waterlogged pipe-dream for musicians to earn a sliver or even a lick of that royalty pie, artists and labels are struggling to fight for attention in a corrosive world where online media is determined with the number of clicks it has.
We determine if we like a song or not within the first 10-20 seconds of us playing it. Skip after skip. We rarely get to the end of a single song. A lower threshold of consumer holding their attention spans, results in quicker introductions and explosive choruses right from the gate. A consumption plan and song restructure we have seen in chart music for years, ever since the music world turned digital. Music consumption is overriding the musicality of artists’ choices and labels’ marketing preparations. We need to steer the ship before it’s too late.
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