A week has passed since the Grammys but it seems like the controversy isn’t coming to an end yet. Music mogul and advertising exec Steve Stoute’s full page open letter published in Sunday’s New York Times, addressing National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and to Neil Portnow, the president of NARAS, strongly criticized the Grammys and the Academy, claiming that the ceremony is “a series of hypocrisies and contradictions.”
Stoute wrote that best-selling musicians, such as Kanye West, Eminem and Justin Bieber, were only used during the show to “to ensure viewership and to deliver the all-too-important ratings for its advertisers” and the Grammys’ failure comes from “over-zealousness to produce a popular show that is at odds with its own system of voting” and “fundamental disrespect of cultural shifts as being viable and artistic.”
He also mentioned Eminem’s 2001 album “The Marshall Mathers LP,” which lost Album of the Year to Steely Dan by stating, “Not only is Eminem the best-selling artist of the last decade, but The Marshall Mathers LP was a critical and commercial success that sold over 10 million albums in the United States (19 million worldwide), while Steely Dan sold less than 10% of that amount and came and went as quietly as a church mouse.” Additionally, Stoute cited 2008’ Grammys where Kanye West’s “Graduation” was beat for Album of the Year by Herbie Hancock’s “River: The Joni Letters.”
Stoute also focused on Justin Bieber, who lost the Best New Artist award to Esperanza Spalding this year. “How is it that Justin Bieber, an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist, did not win Best New Artist,” he questioned.
He added, “Does the Grammys intentionally use artists for their celebrity, popularity and cultural appeal when they already know the winners and then program a show against this expectation?”