It’s a gimmick. From when Jethro Tull won the first metal award at the Grammy’s, the whole awards night and nominations has been a joke when it comes to metal and hard rock music. Hell, even metal heads said “who is Jethro Tull” when his name was announced. Jethro Tull didn’t even turn up to the awards ceremony because their label told them they wouldn’t win.
I am all in for metal music to be recognised, however it’s time to call a spade a spade. The Grammy awards for metal doesn’t recognise anything. It is a dead set joke. The Revolver awards are a step in the right direction however they are not much better as they play up to the ‘PR’ companies who assist in writing their stories. You see, we live in a different world right now where we get to choose what we want to listen to from a plethora of choices. Does anybody really care who wins or is nominated?
Having Metallica win the “Best Metal Performance” in 1990 for “One” and then in 1991 for “Stone Cold Crazy” just added to the Grammy metal jokes.
“One’s” fate was tied with the “…And Justice For All” album and that was meant for the 1989 Grammy ceremony. And seriously, for the 1991 awards, a cover song was the best that was on offer in the metal world for releases released from October 1989 to September 1990. I don’t think so.
Even in 1999, Metallica won again for “Better Than You”. For which song, I hear you say. “Better Than You.” Does anyone know from which album it was on or how the riff goes or the vocal melody? I bet that most people will answer NO.
Fast forward to the 2014 nominations. The nominations are Anthrax – “T.N.T.”, Black Sabbath – “God Is Dead?”, Dream Theater – “The Enemy Inside”, Killswitch Engage – “In Due Time” and Volbeat – “Room 24” featuring King Diamond. Scott Ian has even said that he didn’t know that Anthrax could be nominated for their cover songs.
From an artist point of view a Grammy nomination can be trumpeted as a marketing success in future promotions however it means nothing if the music isn’t great. Even in movies, who cares if a new movie has Oscar nominated actors if the movie is a dud. Same deal with music. Who cares if Megadeth has been nominated for the most Grammy’s without a win? We only care if the music is great?
Yep, Motorhead won a Grammy in 2006, beating out acts like Cradle of Filth, Hatebreed, Killswitch Engage and Slipknot. Can anyone name the track and the album it is on without Googling it. Yep, Judas Priest won an award in 2010 for a live track of Dissident Aggressor. Seriously, a live track. That is the best that was on offer.
If the music is not repeatable and if people are not listening to it, it’s time to go back and write some more songs. To think that the Grammys’ are a reflection of heavy music today is akin to saying what Loudwire rights is gospel. Did anyone read their praising review of the first Red Dragon Cartel gig? It was a shock to the 99.9% of the audience in attendance who blasted the show on Facebook and other social media sites.
NARAS is beholden to the old major label structure. That structure is going through a chaotic time and for some of it is crumbling. So what does NARAS do? They nominate what the labels push and lobby. They get it wrong year after year as their membership is declining. In other words, the current music paradigm looks for people to lead and NARAS has none.
The old paradigm is gone. Entertainment and music are owned by the fans. The days of Producers, Record Label A&R’s and Publishing people voting for who should be nominated and who should win are over. If these people think they are above the audience, then they are in for a rude shock.
Musicmetrics has shown Iron Maiden where their pirate (copyright infringing) fans are and Iron Maiden rewarded them by doing concerts there. However apart from the websites that report critically on these issues, the rest of the media ignores the story, because they are beholden to the labels or to the old newspaper system. So of course, they cannot be trumpeting the virtues of copyright infringement.
What we should be awarding is music that managed to get their message out to people. In 2013 we are inundated with so much information, so we decide to invest time into music that interests us or really connects with us.
So what is important. The bottom line is this.
If a band is at decent “star” level, they will get traction because they have proven themselves. They do not need a Grammy nomination or a Grammy win to trumpet their next album. If Megadeth releases another stiff album, then they can expect to do even lower numbers on their next tour, because in the end ten tracks slapped together means nothing if nobody isn’t interested. Same for Dream Theater.
The plan today is back to selling songs. The record labels wish that is not the case, however that is just denying the inevitable. Music is a hit for a reason. It’s because its good. It’s not because it won a Grammy award or got nominated for a Grammy award.
Otherwise a Grammy nomination is near meaningless. A footnote. It doesn’t service the fans. That’s the music business right now. The fans have the power. They deserve the respect.