Grammys Drop Anonymous Nominating Committees After Backlash

Grammys

The New York Times:

The governing body of the Grammy Awards voted on Friday to change its nominating process, eliminating a step that has recently come under fire — the use of anonymous expert committees to decide who makes the final ballot in dozens of categories.

Each year, the Recording Academy convenes music professionals to serve on its nomination review committees for 61 of the Grammys’ 84 categories. They whittle down the initial nomination choices by the academy’s thousands of voters to determine the ballot, and their work is intended to protect the integrity of the awards process.

The committees began in 1989, but in recent years they have come under intense criticism from artists, music executives and even Grammy insiders as examples of an unaccountable system rife with conflicts of interest and mysterious agendas.

Grammys Ratings … Not Great, Bob!

Grammys

Variety:

This year’s telecast was the lowest-rated in Grammys history in the early numbers.

Per Nielsen Live+Same Day official national numbers, Music’s Biggest Night delivered an average of 8.8 million viewers for the network during the ceremony’s broadcast on Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET with a 2.1 rating in the key, adults ages 18-49 demographic. […]

Nevertheless, this year’s telecast was still the highest-rated broadcast of the night, and it was the most-streamed Grammy show ever with 83% more live streams compared to 2020. In addition to cable, the show could be accessed on the CBS website and app as well as the network’s recently rebranded and debuted video-on-demand and over-the-top media streaming service Paramount Plus.

The Grammys Postponed

Grammys

Rolling Stone:

“The deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles, with hospital services being overwhelmed, ICUs having reached capacity, and new guidance from state and local governments have all led us to conclude that postponing our show was the right thing to do,” the Recording Academy and CBS, the network broadcasting the show, said in a statement. “Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show. We want to thank all of the talented artists, the staff, our vendors and especially this year’s nominees for their understanding, patience and willingness to work with us as we navigate these unprecedented times.”

Grammys Chief Calls Her Removal Retaliation for Exposing ‘Boys’ Club’

Legal

Ben Sisario, writing for the New York Times:

Deborah Dugan, the suspended chief of the Recording Academy, the organization behind the Grammy Awards, said in a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday that she had been removed as retaliation for uncovering a range of misconduct at the academy, including sexual harassment, improper voting procedures and conflicts of interest among academy board members.

And:

According to the complaint, the nominating committee, when finalizing the ballot for the 2019 award for song of the year, for example, chose as one of its eight final nominees a song that had initially ranked 18 out of 20. The artist behind that song, the complaint alleges, was allowed to sit on the committee and was also represented by a board member.

The complaint also says that the committees can add artists to the ballot who had not first been chosen by the general voting pool. For this year’s awards, it says, 30 such artists were “added to the possible nomination list.”

And:

The document, filed with the E.E.O.C.’s Los Angeles office and technically called a charge of discrimination, alleges that Ms. Dugan’s predecessor, Neil Portnow, had been accused of rape by an artist, and that the academy’s board had been scheduled to vote for a bonus for him even though all of its members had not been told about the accusation. The complaint has little detail about the accusation, but said that a psychiatrist had said that the encounter was “likely not consensual.”

It also says that Ms. Dugan herself had received unwanted sexual advances from Joel Katz, a powerful industry lawyer who represents the Grammys.

The Grammys Are Out of Touch

Grammys

Hazel Cills, writing for The Muse:

Out of 899 people nominated for the last six Grammy Awards, a new report from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California found that only nine percent of those people were women. And we still don’t know the race, gender, and age breakdown of the 24,000 member Recording Academy itself, which leads to an Academy that can only conceive of excellent women artists in the form of Adele and Taylor Swift. It’s this out-of-touch mindset that is partly destroying the Grammys’ ratings, with the ceremony hitting an all-time low this year. And who would blame anyone for not tuning in, considering Best Album winner Adele disputed her own win last year?

Grammy President Apologizes

Grammys

Neil Portnow, the president of the Grammys has apologized for his previous comments about women needing to “step up:”

Last night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year’s GRAMMY Awards. Regrettably, I used two words, “step up,” that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make.

Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be richer for it. I regret that I wasn’t as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought. I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone.

Why Didn’t Lorde Perform at the Grammys?

Lorde

Jem Aswad, writing for Variety:

Sources close to the situation tell Variety that the Grammys approached Lorde about performing with other artists but not solo; one source says it was part of a tribute to the late Tom Petty involving his song “American Girl” (which would have been an odd fit for the New Zealand-born singer). Lorde declined.

That source added that the other Album of the Year contenders — all of whom are male — were offered solo spots performing songs from their respective nominated albums.