Don’t know who Steve Stoute is? Well, he’s a Belieber, for one. Stoute is a record exec and Nas’ manager with a twenty-year history in the music industry, and he’s taking the The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences head honcho Neil Portnow to task in defense of Justin Bieber, Eminem, and Kanye West (to name a few).
Stoute is unhappy with the results of the 2011 Grammy Awards — so unhappy that he took out a full page ad in the Sunday, Feb. 20 New York Times to publicly chide Grammy voters for overlooking more mainstream artists when it comes to the awards — instead, he says, they’re simply using the artists for TV ratings.
“The Grammy Awards have clearly lost touch with contemporary pop culture,” he writes. Essentially, Stoute believes that the actual ceremony and performance part of the Grammy Awards contradicts its voting system, and that Grammy voters refuse to allow for changing trends and popular artists.
In short, artists like Bieber deserve to be recognized over artists like Esperanza Spalding, who beat out Bieber for Best New Artist this year, much to the chagrin of every angry 13-year-old on Twitter.
“How is it that Justin Bieber, an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist, did not win Best New Artist?” writes Stoute. “Again, his cultural impact and success are even more quantifiable if you factor in his YouTube and Vevo viewership–the fact that he was a talent born entirely of the digital age whose story was crafted in the most humble method of being “discovered” purely for his singing ability (and it should be noted that Justin Bieber plays piano and guitar, as evidenced on his early viral videos).”
Stoute even opens old wounds, referencing the time Eminem lost out to Steely Dan and the year that Kanye West was bested by Herbie Hancock. “While there is no doubt in my mind of the artistic talents of Steely Dan or Herbie Hancock, we must acknowledge the massive cultural impact of Eminem and Kanye West and how their music is shaping, influencing and defining the voice of a generation. It is this same cultural impact that acknowledged the commercial and critical success of Michael Jackson’s Thriller in 1984.”
Yes, he did just invoke the musically sacred MJ. He means business.
What do you think, Zap2it readers? Are the Grammy Awards behind the times? Should an artist’s cultural impact (and sales figures) impact the vote? Weigh in below in our comments section.