Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Steve Stout, Jermaine Dupri & The Grammys...Who's Right? What's Wrong?

Photo: HollywoodReporter.com

The music industry is buzzing, fans are talking, blogging and tweeting, and producer/exec, Jermaine Dupri is publicly weighing in on the hot topic. Some of everybody, me included, is saying something about Steve Stout's Feb 20th New York Times letter to the Grammys and the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).

Stout is a well-respected music industry veteran and in his letter he calls NARAS out on many relevant points we as industry folk discuss amongst ourselves but never publicly. Thus his letter and responses to it, are a perfect example of living and working in this game of show as my blog title suggests. If you haven't read Stout's letter, PLEASE do so. Here's a few quotes in the meantime:

"Over the course of my 20-year history as an executive in the music business and as the owner of a firm that specializes in in-culture advertising, I have come to the conclusion that the Grammy Awards have clearly lost touch with contemporary popular culture."

"Unfortunately, the awards show has become a series of hypocrisies and contradictions, leaving me to question why any contemporary popular artist would even participate..."

"While these very artists that the public acknowledges as being worthy of their money and fandom are snubbed year after year at the Grammys, the awards show has absolutely no qualms in inviting these same artists to perform."

Obviously, Stout is a man fed up with "business as usual" and is really challenging NARAS to defend how Grammy Award recipients are decided and who gets to perform. But will NARAS or show producers respond? Probably not without a publicists, if at all. Read more about Stout and what motivated the letter in this interview conducted by The Hollywood Reporter.

Jermaine Dupri on his Global14.com social network has raised even more valid points. In the video below, he says there's no point in complaining about Grammys if you haven't voiced your concerns and opinion as a MEMBER of NARAS. According to him, Hip Hop hasn't been well represented in the ranks of NARAS. Maybe that explains why we rarely get to see Hip Hop and R&B artists receive their awards during the show, but are asked to perform to increase show ratings.

Also in the vid, he explains stepping down as President of the Atlanta chapter of NARAS when he realized his position held no real power, especially in affecting how Janet was dissed and uninvited by the Grammys after the Super Bowl mess. Ironically, according to Janet herself, she's never received any of her Grammys during the broadcast of the show. Interesting...!

Stout and Dupri have shared some crucial insights. If you aspire to have a career in music take serious note. Realize this game is more than just about creativity, performing, and residuals. It's called show BUSINESS for a reason. Don't get caught up in thinking the industry awards and accolades DEFINE you as an artist. Some of the best musicians and artists never received Grammys or major industry awards, yet their impact on audiences has been ever-lasting.

Here's Jermaine's video. Play it and then let me know your thoughts. I'd love to get your feedback on Stout or Dupri's comments and whether you think their comments and people's responses will have any impact on NARAS and Grammys 2012.

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