News Column

Music Exec Steve Stoute Slams Grammy Awards for Snubbing Justin Bieber, Eminem

February 21, 2011

A former music executive has blasted the Grammy Awards for snubbing Justin Bieber and Eminem.

Steve Stoute, best-known for managing New York rapper Nas, took the Grammys to task in a full-page ad in the New York Times over the weekend.

He ripped the show for giving awards to obscure acts instead of more relevant, of-the-moment artists ????? including Bieber, the 16-year-old from Stratford, Ont., who performed during the Feb. 13 ceremony but was shut out in his two nominated categories.

His criticism extended to Montreal's Arcade Fire, whose third record, "The Suburbs," took the trophy for album of the year at last week's show. After winning, the band spontaneously took the stage to play "Ready to Start" to close the show. Stoute suggested it could not have been an impromptu performance, and that the band must have known it was going to win.

The Recording Academy, which puts on the Grammys, was not immediately available to comment on Monday.

Stoute also objected to some of the Grammys' memorable recent upsets ????? specifically, Herbie Hancock beating out Kanye West and Amy Winehouse for album of the year in 2008, and Steely Dan's victory over Eminem's "The Marshall Mathers LP" in '01.

That summed up his problem with the show in general awarding legacy artists over those currently ruling the charts.

"How is it that Justin Bieber, an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist, did not win Best New Artist?" wrote Stoute in his letter, published Sunday.

"Does the Grammys intentionally use artists for their celebrity, popularity and cultural appeal when they already know the winners and then program a show against this expectation?" he added later. "Meanwhile the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences hides behind the 'peer' voting system to escape culpability for not even rethinking its approach.

"And I imagine that next year there will be another televised super-close-up of an astonished front-runner as they come to the realization before a national audience... that he or she was used."

Source: The Canadian Press, 2011

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