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?”

About The Author

Eiko Watanabe is a Blast staff writer in New York

5 Responses

  1. Josh

    Im glad they didnt win anything, they are both stupid assholes who deserve to be kicked in face.

  2. andy

    But come on Steve,

    all those winners were absolutley Spot ON. Arcade Fire should have actually won that Best Album Award with their first two releases ‘Funeral’ (A masterpiece) and Neon Bible (Brilliant) which are still by far Stronger albums than ‘the Suburbs’ even though that is an amazing album in itself. There really was no other competition for that award – well overdue to an amazing band.

    And as for the Bieber missing out , Im sorry but Esperanza has more talent in long slender pinky – easily the best choice.

    Gee its getting to be a real shame when maybe talent is finally winning out over popularity.

    My only wonder is the record and song of the year going to Lady Antebellum. Sure its a ‘nice’ song – but maybe a little to middle of the road to scoop the double award – but good on them in the end.

    • Pat

      The most popular and the best are are not necessarily the same and I am sure that Mr. Stoute knows that but maybe he’s fishing for some new clients?

      Rediculous argument on his part.

  3. Canadian

    The fact that industry insider thinks that Bieber defines what it means to be a modern artist is pefectly illustrative of the industry’s thinking. Bieber does produce music. He produces sounds that makes the ears of music lovers bleed.

    Spalding and Arcade Fire are real musicians. Bieber should be sent back to sunday school.


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