Sorry, Dawg, It’s A No

2/14/2007

I watched the Grammy Awards with, as usual, anticipation and trepidation. It’s Music’s big night and along with the highs, you can always expect the lows. It could be a rapper saying “thank you” with uncensored street slang or a diva unable to perform (and making a superstar out of her replacement in the process), but whatever, the Grammy Awards can be as unpredictable as a new PD.

 

This year, the Grammy Awards stooped to a new low.

 

How can an institution that honors past achievements in music hold open auditions during a telecast for some “hopeful” to get to sing with Justin Timberlake? Hopeless is more like it. The audience was inundated with promos to stay tuned for the “winner” of the competition. Other than the winners’ family and friends, who cared? Instead of more opportunities for viewers to hear or see “real” artists, we were hyped with the Grammy’s own version of “American Idol.”

 

Sorry, dawg, it was a little pitchy.

 

What kind of mentality orders more shots of three unknowns and less time for Mary J. Blige to thank her supporters? By the way, the Grammy’s should be ashamed for cutting any artist short on their “thank you’s.” Nobody would be watching this program without the artists. So if Mary J. wants to thank her 22nd cousin twice removed on her mother’s side, let her. But the Grammy’s chose to cut this superstar off so we could find out who to vote for in this ridiculous contest. The producers were more interested in generating ratings (didn’t happen) than honoring music.

 

Grammy, you should be ashamed.

 

I guess it’s just a reflection of the record business in general. It’s been style over substance for quite a while. And record company executives seem quite content to continue to do business as usual while record sales plummet to all time lows. These are the same executives who were convinced that traditional sales would return once pirating was deemed illegal.

 

Nice try.

 

The record business is too busy looking for alternative ways of presenting artists instead of concentrating on the music. A&R now seems to stand for “Always Wrong (with an R).” Artist development does not exist in the halls of very many companies. Why?

 

Simple answer: Record executives aren’t paid to find artists. They are paid to meet quarterly expectations. That’s easier done by repackaging The Beatles than by spending time and money developing a new artist. Why should a record company president look past his own future?

 

The true giants developed the record business because they owned the companies. They were less interested in short term profits than long term growth. That’s not the case today.

 

Thank God for Clive.

 

He’s the first to take advantage of new platforms while continuing to make sure the music is most important. That might take time, but it brings success. Isn’t it interesting that the oldest mogul in the business is the one who is looking far into the future? When he calls it quits, the record business is in big trouble.

 

May you live forever, Clive. And may the last voice you hear be mine.

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