As another list of Grammys nominations , a familiar feeling of disappointment set in. While there were a handful of pleasant surprises in this yearÔÇÖs nominees ÔÇö like or the unexpected support given to some of my favorite artists like Victoria Monet and Janelle Monae ÔÇö I couldnÔÇÖt help but feel frustrated by the usual oversights in the nominations. As , the choices were largely white and conventional, snubbing some of the yearÔÇÖs most experimental and influential artists like PinkPantheress ÔÇö even when her collab with Ice Spice, ÔÇťBoyÔÇÖs a Liar Pt. 2ÔÇŁ was a . Many lesser-known artists who made some of the best music of the year, like Kelela and Amaarae, were also sidelined.
Of course, much of my disappointment comes from personal preference. But I am evidently not the only one who has grown disillusioned with the awards ceremony, which in recent years. And itÔÇÖs not hard to imagine why audience members would be tired of dealing with an institution like the Grammys ÔÇö for instance, audience members have grown increasingly frustrated by the Recording Academy robbings. Already in and , commentators were claiming that the Grammys ÔÇŁ&▓ď▓˙▓§▒Ŕ;
But as much as I understand this response, I hesitate to embrace it. The Grammys undeniably represent the highest industry accolades for music, whether we like it or not. The artists decorated by such prestigious awards should be chosen more meritocratically, and apathy toward the GrammysÔÇÖ existence wonÔÇÖt help the situation.
But what makes the Grammys so important? Even with record-low viewership numbers, the Grammys pull in audiences of millions ÔÇö and even those who donÔÇÖt watch may find themselves checking the list of winners the next day. Beyond the joy of seeing talented artists receive recognition for their musical accomplishments, a Grammy can also do wonders for a musicianÔÇÖs career. Billboard claims that artists can see anywhere after simply being featured in the ceremony. Even with , Taylor SwiftÔÇÖs Album of the Year win in 2021 for ÔÇťFolkloreÔÇŁ in the following days. If an already successful artist like Taylor Swift can benefit so much from a win, just imagine what a simple nomination could do for the career of a less famous artist. But a list as powerful as that of the Grammy nominees should represent the best of the industry ÔÇö not arbitrary and unfair factors such as the of Grammy Voters, which for.
However, it is not so easy to figure out how the Grammys can improve on this front. The show currently , a similar process to the equally . This seemingly makes peopleÔÇÖs choices more susceptible to peer persuasion than anything else, since it is not feasible to listen to every single eligible release from the year. A shake-up to the award categories might help less well-known artists find their footing. Considering there already exists a ÔÇťBest New ArtistÔÇŁ category, I donÔÇÖt see any reason why there couldnÔÇÖt be more categories dedicated to the more up-and-coming hits from new artists so every category doesnÔÇÖt get filled by the industryÔÇÖs giants. Having categories that specifically highlight independent artists and experimental music genres would also do a lot to broaden the scope of the ceremony.
Ultimately, we arenÔÇÖt the ones in control of the Recording Academy, so thereÔÇÖs not much we can directly do to change the Grammys as mere audience members. But pretending that the Grammys have no impact is not the answer. Rather, we can apply collective pressure to change the practices of the Recording Academy. As easy as it is to dislike and dismiss the awards, getting them to slowly change for the better can do a lot of good for everyone involved. IÔÇÖve already anecdotally heard from multiple friends that they tuned in to the excellent new Victoria Monet album, ÔÇťJaguar II,ÔÇŁ after seeing how many nominations she got. Just a few months ago, she wasnÔÇÖt even included as a performer at the VMAs because they , something I doubt would happen again to one of the most nominated people at this yearÔÇÖs Grammys. If we can correct the errors in the selection process of the Grammys, the awards have the potential to be a tool of empowerment for talented artists long neglected by the music industry.
Paulie Malherbe ÔÇÖ26 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send responses to this opinion to email@example.com and other op-eds to firstname.lastname@example.org.