Written by: Naqib
Edited by: Inez
Visual by: Ethan
On April 4th, the 64th annual Grammy Awards held by The Recording Academy achieved its second all-time lowest rating, after just last year, when the awards show set the record for its lowest views ever attained. The American awards show has been increasingly criticized by highly acclaimed artists in the industry over recent years for lack of nominations to deserving artists. Furthemore, controversy has arisen for the show having a flawed voting system. The intense criticism from artists has been matched with exponentially decreasing views by international audiences, begging the question: are the Grammys still a credible awards show?
The 2022 Grammy Awards recorded a disappointing 9.59 million viewers, only 4% higher than last year, which recorded an all time low of 9.23 million viewers. The disappointing viewership was matched with poor ratings of 2.24, even lower than last year’s 2.28 ratings (The Hollywood Reporter). The consistent decline in ratings from audiences and overall views goes to show how the Grammys have lost their appeal to the public in recent years.
Zayn Malik, a chart topping soloist and ex One Direction member, made headlines in 2021 for his criticism of the Grammys days before the show. He followed up a Tweet criticizing the show with vulgarities in a statement saying, “My tweet was not personal or about eligibility, but was about the need for inclusion and the lack of transparency of the nomination process and the space that creates and allows favoritism, racism, and networking politics to influence the voting process”. Other highly acclaimed artists such as The Weeknd, Drake and Niki Minaj have all also expressed their disapproval for the award show’s lack of transparency with the public and its questionable nomination tactics.
The Grammys have increasingly been criticized for their lack of transparency with artists and audiences, resulting in alleged unfair voting and undeserving nominations. After major hits and breaking records across billboard charts with songs like “Blinding Lights” and “Heartless”, the Weeknd was nowhere to be found in Grammy nominations in 2021, showing how the voting system is flawed and denies deserving artists of prestigious recognition in the industry.
A USD Student Media article described the voting process as one where “The Recording Academy decides the winners, with each entry voted on by Academy members. To be a voting member, one would have to be one of the following: an artist, producer, engineer, or songwriter who has two strong recommendations from music industry peers to submit before a deadline”. It shows how the voting system itself promotes personal biases and relationships in taking a larger role for determining nominations than actual achievement based on real statistics. As Malik said, the system allows favoritism between artists as it’s solely based on individual artists voting for each other, without considering how well an artist actually performed based on singles, album statistics, or chart positions.
In 2014, Macklemore won the award for “Best New Artist” at the 56th annual Grammys. Fans and artists were quick to speak out about how Kendrick Lamar was the deserving artist with many people conspiring it was due to the rapper’s race, with even Macklemore himself saying that Lamar deserved to win. In an interview with the Rolling Stones Magazine addressing Lamar himself, Macklemore states, “You got robbed. I wanted you to win. You should have. It’s weird and it sucks that I robbed you.” When winning artists themselves deny their deservance for awards, it clearly shows how the Grammys cannot be considered a credible award. The voting system itself simply does not allow for artists who actually dominated the previous year to win the once prestigious award.
As praised artists around the world express their discontent with The Recording Academy’s awards show, viewership and ratings have dropped in tandem. This expresses how the Grammys are becoming an obsolete award in the music industry. By creating a system where personal relationships and biases determine nominations and award recognitions, the Grammys are no longer a credible award to determine an artist’s prestige or recognize their creative talents. It would be better to see The Recording Academy incorporate the suggestions of criticizing artists, such as improving their voting system and reducing personal biases from voters to make the process fair and credible, and restore the awards to their former acclaim.
Porter, Rick. “Grammy Awards: TV Ratings Sunday, April 3, 2022.” The Hollywood Reporter, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Apr. 2022, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/grammys-tv-ratings-sunday-april-3-2022-1235124919/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2022.
“Are the Grammys Losing Their Credibility?” USD Student Media, 24 Feb. 2021, uofsdmedia.com/are-the-grammys-losing-their-credibility/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2022.
Ayers, Mike. “Macklemore Texts Kendrick Lamar after Grammys: “You Got Robbed.”” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 27 Jan. 2014, http://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/macklemore-to-kendrick-lamar-after-grammys-you-got-robbed-178626/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2022.