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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The problem with the Grammys

The problem with the Grammys

An exaggerated sense of self-importance

Now that February is upon us, awards season is officially in full swing. On Feb. 12, the 59th annual Grammy Awards will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. This is a night for some of the biggest names in the music industry to come together and celebrate some of their favorite music from the past year.

The Grammys offers a slew of reasons for viewers to tune in from red carpet coverage to performances, as well as the unpredictability of live television. However, these spectacles can easily distract viewers from the real reason why the Grammys exist at all— the awards.

For those who take great pride in their music selection, it is easy to get caught up in whether or not some of your favorite artists have been nominated, how many nominations they’ve received, or whether or not they win their nominated awards. In reality, these nominations and awards hold no weight in what actually constitutes as good music.

When attempting to understand who wins these awards, it is important to know who is in charge of the voting process and exactly how it unfolds. In order to be eligible to vote, you must be a Recording Academy voting member. The Grammy website describes their voting members as “professionals with creative or technical credits on at least six commercially released tracks.” While these people certainly have experience in the music industry, their opinion on a topic as subjective as music should not have an impact on the legacy of an artist. Just because a certain group of people gather to vote for one artist over another doesn’t discredit or weaken any of the music created by that person.

Furthermore, winning a Grammy fails to solidify or legitimize a musician at all. In reality, it makes almost no sense to hold an awards ceremony for art just one year or less after it has been released. Art is something meant to be experienced over a long period of time and certainly not meant to be judged after less than 12 months of existence. Thus, in order for us to truly understand the impact music makes, we must take into account how it is received by multiple generations.

However, this is not to say that there shouldn’t be any honor in winning a Grammy Award. Receiving a great deal of recognition for your work, especially art, is one of the most gratifying things that a person can experience. At the same time, handing out trophies for art sends the wrong message about the purpose of creating it in the first place. Music is an audible representation of the human experience, usually specific to the artist’s own experiences. Different types of music appeal to all different types of people for countless reasons which makes music taste far too subjective to hand out awards for.

Another issue is the pride and ego boost that certain artists feel along with winning a Grammy. Hip-hop artist Drake felt so entitled after winning a Grammy that he on his most recent album, “Views,” to release a song titled “Grammys.” Thankfully, not all artists take a great deal of pride in awards. Upon receiving a Grammy in 1996, Eddie Vedder, lead singer of Pearl Jam, made his acceptance speech short and sweet: “I don’t know what this means. I don’t think it means anything.” The Grammy was later found in a cluttered basement while the band was recording the documentary “Pearl Jam 20.”

There are many times in life when it is necessary to declare a winner. In sports, it makes sense to reward the best team or player with a trophy, as they have proven themselves superior to every other team. However, art does not, and should not, have a champion, only contributors. Art is not a competition.

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