The Grammys disappoint music listeners


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The Weeknd performing at Bumbershoot 2015. “File:The Weeknd 2015.jpg” by is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Luke Barlow, Staff Writer

Golden gramophones are presented to artists once every year. As the most prestigious music award event in the U.S., the Grammys reward artists who have made quality music during the eligibility period. The winners are voted for by musicians and other members of the music industry.

However, the Grammys are no longer the fair and respectable awards show many believe them to be. Now, they award albums and songs based on popularity through a broken voting system instead of true musical talent.

“I do not believe that the Grammys are fair with their decisions,” freshman Frida Sagastume said. “They would rather please their audience than give the award to someone more deserving.”

In recent years, the Grammys have drawn criticism for making widely unpopular choices. The most infamous of these is the Album of the Year win of Taylor Swift’s “1989” over Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly,” in 2014. They have been awarding albums that have mainstream appeal and high commercial sales over albums that push the boundaries of a genre, despite the Grammys claiming that awards are given without regard to album sales or chart position. Moreover, independent acts are less likely to be nominated, much less win an award. 

“I think SZA is a very talented artist that I personally feel should have been nominated for the 2021 Grammys General Field nomination list,” freshman Hamsika Ramkumar said.

According to the Grammys, members of the voting system are singers, songwriters, producers, engineers and other creators currently working in the music industry. Because this committee is so large, all of its members are not familiar with every voting category, so they might vote based on recognition of a name rather than actually listening to the album.

“I believe the fans should be able to vote on a website and nominate the person they believe should win,” Ramkumar said. “The person who gets the most votes should win the Grammy.”

This is a good idea. Many fan-voted awards such as the American Music Awards and the People’s Choice Awards avoid controversies the Grammys have faced and they reflect the true opinion of the general public.

When the 2021 Grammy nominations were revealed, many were once again disappointed. The underrated and innovative album, “SAWAYAMA,” by Rina Sawayama did not receive any nominations, and Fiona Apple released an amazing album that didn’t get noticed. The Weeknd also released the commercially and critically acclaimed album, “After Hours,” which didn’t receive any nominations. It is unusual that an artist as popular as the Weeknd didn’t receive a nomination. The Grammys usually nominate very popular artists and get them to perform; because of that, they can get more viewers.

“There are lots of incredible artists, but the Weeknd was robbed of receiving a nomination,” Sagastume said. “The Weeknd should’ve been nominated for at least one Grammy.”

The Grammys are thought of as a prestigious award ceremony, but in recent years, that image and reputation has fallen drastically. The 2020 Grammys’ viewership was the lowest it had ever been since 2008. If the Grammys do not change their voting system and start rewarding deserving artists, their public image may worsen. The Grammys are airing March 14 on CBS.

“A lot of talented artists who worked hard to accomplish their goals and to get where they are today don’t even get nominated for a Grammy,” Ramkumar said.