How The Grammys Can Get It Right Next Time



Is it too early to talk about ways the Grammys can get their shit together in the future? Great. While the rest of you are engulfing yourself in or dodging like the plague Bruno Mars think pieces, let’s accept the fuckery we’ve endured and keep moving. Onwards and upwards (and that’s the only place to go since this year’s ratings were at an all time low).

I’ve been watching the Grammys since I was 7 years old. I’m 27 now. I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve been pissed off a lot. I was even a (non-voting) member of the Recording Academy in college. But it’s time to enact some new ideas to get the Grammys back to a place of prominence and respect amongst music lovers.

Whether you love them or hate them, the Grammys are the only award show that matters for music. Don’t like that statement? Sorry, but it’s the truth. When was the last time you heard an artist referred to (anywhere) as VMA winner, AMA winner, Billboard Award winner (except at those shows)? Exactly. The Grammy is literally the gold standard for music. You’re either Grammy Award winner, or you’re not. (That’s okay if you’re not! Diana Ross, Tupac & Biggie, Patti Smith, Bjork, and Bob Marley all never won but their legendary statuses are all cemented.) But wouldn’t it be great if the Grammys got it right more than they didn’t? Here’s how I would get the Grammys back on track:

Make Eligibility a Calendar Year.

October 1, 2016-September 30, 2017? This is so tired and dated and for what? So we can do the show in January? We can wait until March/April, trust. The Grammy period of eligibility should be a calendar year, January 1-December 31. Everything people do in music in terms of annual rankings, discussions, and sales tracking revolves around a calendar year. Shouldn’t the Grammys? Nobody talks about “The best selling album from October 2016-September 2017” or “The Best Albums of October 2017-September 2017.” Furthermore, it is ridiculous that we’re trying to figure out whom the nominations snubbed, who wasn’t eligible, and who decided not to even submit themselves for consideration.

Diversify the Show More.

Rock artists protested/skipped the show because they didn’t air any of the (few) rock categories during the 3.5 hour show. There was definitely time for 1 rock award. Maybe we could have saved ourselves the pre-taped U2 performance THAT NO ONE ASKED FOR, or better yet, given that moment to a rock group who actually deserved it. Plus, think about gospel, blues, and latin music who had no representation (awards nor performances) during the telecast. Even R&B didn’t have a single award handed out during the telecast.

Do Better With The Winners.

Look, everyone can’t win, and people are always going to be sore about it. Even more when there are 2 artists of the same genre with all the same nominations and one sweeps. It’s the nature of an award show like this. However, when people see it coming a mile away, it’s going to be a bigger hit to the Grammys’ credibility. Or, when Ed Sheeran beats 4 women who are all better singers than him for a vocal performance award of a song he ripped off from TLC. But that’s just my opinion. And yes, the Academy can’t (or shouldn’t) just say, “well, we want X to win so we decree that X wins”, but I have a solution for that…

Demand Integrity From The Voting Process.

It’s become a known fact that the Grammy voting process is messy and allows for uninformed decisions to be made based on popularity or familiarity, as opposed to quality. The nomination process is a separate mess, but for the actual voting on winners, here’s an idea: Set up an internal site. On that site, Recording Academy voting members log in and MUST stream all albums/songs in a category on that site in order to be able to vote for that category. If you don’t stream a whole category on the site, you can’t vote. I’m SURE they can situate that. It may decrease the number of voters, but the lack of voters would be supplemented by more informed decisions.

Look Ahead, Not Behind.

The Grammys always tout being this pillar based on history, especially of performances. However, its recent history is murky and aggravating at best, both in regards to performances and award distribution. Implement some of the changes above, and let the better things follow. They will. Trust me. Be better to the largely nominated artists, while also letting others have their shine. It may not always be perfect, but it’ll be better than what we’ve been getting.

What do you think the Grammys & Recording Academy can do to be better? Comment or tweet us and let us know!

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