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Music Exec Steve Stoute Criticizes Grammys

February 22, 2011

What’s the best way to share your malcontent for the Grammy Awards?

Why, take up a full-page advertisement in the New York Times of course. That’s what Steve Stoute, CEO of marketing company Translation, did on Sunday, a week after the annual, nationally-televised event.

The 20-year veteran of the music industry chastised the awards show, calling it “a series of hypocrisies and contradictions.” Quite some heavy words coming from a man with over two decades of work as a record executive and Fortune 500 consumer brand marketer.

Stoute toasts hip-hop artist Jay-Z in 2008 amongst less frustrating times.

“I have come to the conclusion that the Grammy Awards have clearly lost touch with contemporary popular culture,” Stoute added.

Centric to Stoute’s argument were hip-hop artists Eminem and Kanye West, whom both have lost in the “Album of the Year Category” multiple times each.

Eminem’s album Recovery was one of the highest-selling in 2010, however ended with a third-straight loss in the “Album of the Year” category.

“How is it possible that in 2001 The Marshall Mathers LP — an album by Eminem that ushered in the Bob Dylan of our time — was beaten out by Steely Dan (no disrespect) for Album Of The Year?” argued Stoute.

Kanye West, whose album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was one of the most lauded efforts of the year, once again was denied “Album of the Year” as well. In 2008, West’s Graduation lost in a shocker to Herbie Hancock’s jazz tribute to Joni Mitchell, River: The Joni Letters.

Stoute was not purely arguing on behalf of hip-hop’s injustices within the Academy. Justin Bieber even came up, when the “Best New Artist” category was discussed. Bieber went on to lose the award to jazz musician Esperanza Spalding.

Stoute noted, “How is it that Justin Bieber, an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist, did not win Best New Artist?”

The letter did not end without a speculation from Stoute that the Grammy Awards deliberately arrange winners and ensuing performers for ratings, or other purposes.

Indie rock heroes Arcade Fire walked away with Album of the Year for their record The Suburbs.

Okay…no harm done.

However, the Canadian seven-piece performed their hit Month of May prior to the presentation for Album of the Year. After accepting the award, the group put on an encore, playing “Ready to Start” for a ‘surprised’ crowd.

It is difficult to believe that the group, as well as stage producers and sound engineers, were prepared to deliver an on-the-spot performance following the final award presentation.

I guess that’s just the magic of the Academy at work…

The passionate letter has not yet received any formal reply from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Many would not expect a public retort or dispute to ensue, as numerous criticisms of the awards show have emerged throughout the years.

As for Hot Hot Music, we applaud Stoute’s brutal and even courageous honesty, in standing up for the thoughts of many. The Grammy Awards have for so long been a head-scratching mess of an awards show; leaving it hard to reject the notion that those behind the scenes are not holding ratings and money above that which is supposed to stand opposite of all, the music itself.

Go fuck yourself Arcade Fire.

Nah just kidding. It’s not your fault…

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