Monday, February 14, 2011

The Grammys: "Esmerelda who did what now?" 

My day-after-Grammys thought: The whole process of handing out music awards -- at least the cross-genre categories -- really seems like a waste of time.

There are so many types of music, and people's interest tends to be segmented. When it comes to film and television, few people only watch comedies or only watch dramas. But there are plenty of people who listen mostly or entirely to Top 40, Indie Rock, Jazz, Classic Rock, Metal, Rap, Classical, etc.

Also, partly because of this segmentation, I think music taste is much more subjective than film, television or theater. If you take the usual poll of 1,000 Americans, I believe more of them will like any given Best Picture winner than any given Best Album winner. And I think it wouldn't even be close. So this gives the Grammys an "irrelevant" sort of vibe for a lot of people. They're never going to make many people happy. (Generally, I think people watch for the performances, not the awards).

There's also the issue of balancing the "best" with "the best we've actually heard of." On the one hand, you certainly don't want to simply include only bestselling artists. On the other hand, do you really feel like you've done something useful when, after you announce your Best New Artist award, 99.5% of viewers are furiously typing "Who the hell is Esperanza Spaulding?" into Google?

And finally, I often think there's more elitism, snobbery and douchebaggery among music fans than perhaps any other entertainment genre, which makes the whole thing that much more silly.

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