Music exec blasts Academy's Grammy choices

Feb. 22, 2011 at 3:15 AM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. music executive Steve Stoute took out a full-page advertisement in Sunday's New York Times blasting Grammy Awards voters for their choices this year.

The prizes honoring the previous year's best in music were handed out Feb. 13 in Los Angeles by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

The Hollywood Reporter said Stoute's ad also singled out the Academy's president, Neil Portnow, for offering an "awards show (that) has become a series of hypocrisies and contradictions."

"Over the course of my 20-year history as an executive in the music business and as the owner of a firm that specializes in in-culture advertising, I have come to the conclusion that the Grammy Awards have clearly lost touch with contemporary popular culture," Stoute, chief executive officer of marketing company Translation, said in the ad.

"My being a music fan has left me with an even greater and deeper sense of dismay -- so much so that I feel compelled to write this letter. Where I think that the Grammys fail stems from two key sources: (1) over-zealousness to produce a popular show that is at odds with its own system of voting and (2) fundamental disrespect of cultural shifts as being viable and artistic."

In particular, Stoute noted how Eminem, Justin Bieber and Kanye West lost in some of the major Grammy categories for which they were nominated.

"We must acknowledge the massive cultural impact of Eminem and Kanye West and how their music is shaping, influencing and defining the voice of a generation," Stoute wrote. "How is it that Justin Bieber, an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist, did not win Best New Artist?"

The Hollywood Reporter said when it went to press, NARAS had not publicly commented on Stoute's ad.

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