Scandal and Controversy: The Grammys

Josh Marrero, Staff Writer

Since the first award show in 1959, the Grammys has been a staple of music culture that fans can look to every year. Each year, the Academy has 84 categories, ranging from country to hip-hop, where they choose 5-8 nominees. In the last 10 or so years, the Grammys have come under harsh criticism from fans and artists alike for their nomination process and how secretive it is. Of course, every year there will be snubs because the academy can’t nominate and select every popular and successful artist. However, the dissent for the Grammys across the nation is not just based on notable snubs, which there certainly are, but also the fact that many artists and people in the music industry believe the academy has separate motivations other than choosing the best artists for the year.

The criticism for the Grammys is well documented among fans, artists, and people who surround the music industry. One of the most notable stories surrounding the Grammys happened this year, when former CEO of the Academy, Deborah Dugan, was fired in early March. In the days prior to her firing, she sent a memo to the Academy laying out a long list of complaints. Dugan claimed that the recording Academy doesn’t promote a transparent nomination process due to the fact that the top twenty selections for each category are reviewed by secret committees. She also stated that artists who have prior relationships with the board are given priority over other music stars who might have produced better works of music. She cited the 2019 snub of Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran for song of the year nominations as examples of this behavior.

The Academy’s inability to show transparency in their voting methods is one of the reasons that artists such as Eminem, Drake, Kanye West, and Justin Bieber have protested award ceremonies in recent years. These circumstances surrounding the academy has inevitably affected public opinion, as shown by the increasing decline in viewership each year. According to the New York Times, “Viewership for the Grammys hit a 12-year low with 18.7 million viewers in 2020.” As the 2021 Grammys approach this Sunday, the viewership is expected to be on par with the likes of last year.

Josh Marrero