The Grammys are about two things: (1) Creating a highly rated mass-appeal Sunday night primetime TV show; and (2) squeezing out the last bit of sales from the releases of the previous year. In other words, the Grammys aren’t about the music at all. They’re about money.
But maybe that’s just me. The Conversation looks at this question from a couple of different angles.
One of the biggest controversies about the Grammy Awards is whether they measure an artist, song or album’s quality, market share or some combination of the two.
Although the voting members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences are instructed to consider only quality, there are reasons to believe that the selections are made according to more amorphous criteria.
The voters – a select group of recording artists, conductors, songwriters and engineers – operate in a professional environment, rather than a cultural one. That is, they’re prone to be as concerned with sales potential as they are with artistry. “Quality” is never defined, and anonymous voters, of course, aren’t required to justify their choices.
While there’s no reason to challenge the honesty of the process, it’s safe to assume that it pits commercial interests against cultural ones. It’s also reasonable to assume that, like all electorates, Grammy voters are self-interested and inclined to vote in ways that might financially benefit them.