The Grammys' Dwindling Influence in the Music Industry
As one of the most-watched awards shows world-wide, the Grammys have historically been a marker of musical and artistic excellence. However, the Grammys have faced growing backlash in recent years.
Audiences and artists have accused the Grammys of having favoritism towards certain artists and being racially biased as well as for valuing popularity over quality. The voting system involves a large voting body of artists that have credits for a certain number of releases, previous Grammy winners, and those with endorsements from current members.
These voting members vote for the four main categories, which are Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist, and other categories that they have more expertise or experience in. This means that winners of the top four categories are more likely to win if their records are more well-known, as they are voted on by every single voter.
These votes are then passed through a smaller, private committee that narrows down the top nominations, and, ultimately, decides the winner. However, this committee was disbanded in 2021 after a surge of criticism.
Following this disbandment, the 2023 Grammys displayed a controversial moment after Harry Styles won Album of the Year for this third album, "Harry's House.”
“This doesn't happen to people like me very often,” Harry Styles said during his acceptance speech.
This came across as tone-deaf to those tuning in to the 2023 Grammys ceremony because Styles was nominated alongside women and artists of color who are consistently overlooked in major categories.
Notably, Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” was also nominated for Album of the Year, and the 2023 Grammys marked the fourth time that Beyoncé was nominated for the category but did not win. This upset many artists and fans, who pointed out that a black woman has not received the award since 1999.
This year’s recent nominations are no different as three artists of color are nominated for Record of the Year, and they are up against many artists known for being “Grammy darlings." Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, and Olivia Rodrigo have received an impressive number of wins and nominations relative to their career lengths, and that pattern doesn’t seem to be breaking anytime soon.
As each new Grammys season rolls around, more fans become indifferent to new nomination announcements and wins. Nights of tuning into the awards show are beginning to turn into quick glances at the news and continuous disappointment.
While it can be exciting to see our favorite artists become Grammy nominees and winners, the diminishing significance of the Grammys marks a shift away from awards shows, and more towards a focus on each individual’s enjoyment of music.
Awards no longer boost an artists’ revenue or popularity as much as they used to, and the Grammys are no longer the same marker of musical success.
However, in an era where streaming and purchasing music is accessible to many people, supporting artists is easier than ever. Going to concerts, buying records, and simply sharing our favorite music benefits artists immensely.
Without as much emphasis on the Grammys as an ultimate career goal, artists are free to create music for themselves and their fans, focusing on authenticity over popularity.