Grammys voting fairness called into question

Eminem Music executive Steve Stoute named names today in a scathing open letter to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which he published in the New York Times in a full page ad. Using last week’s Grammy Awards as a springboard, the industry veteran cited examples from the past ten years meant to prove that the winner selection process had gone seriously awry.

Said Stoute, “The awards show has become a series of hypocrisies and contradictions, leaving me to question why any contemporary popular artist would even participate.” He went on to make a lengthy comparison between Steely Dan and Eminem, the latter of whom lost out to the former for Album of the Year in 2001, despite having sold 10 times more albums. Also compared were Kanye West and Herbie Hancock, the latter of whom won over the former for Album of the Year in 2008.

Central to Stoute’s argument was the idea that cultural impact (as opposed to musical quality alone) should be taken into serious account. Argued the executive, “While there is no doubt in my mind of the artistic talents of Steely Dan or Herbie Hancock, 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. It is this same cultural impact that acknowledged the commercial and critical success of Michael Jackson’s Thriller in 1984.”

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