FORMER CEO OF THE RECORDING ACADEMY SAYS THE GRAMMY’S VOTING PROCESS IS “CORRUPT”
Page Six of the NY Post reports:
When the Grammy Awards air on CBS Sunday night at 8pm, the spotlight will be not just on nominated stars like Billie Eilish and Lizzo — but also on the wild behind-the-scenes chaos that’s rocking the Recording Academy…
…The drama spilled into public view on January 16th, when Deborah Dugan — the first female CEO of the Recording Academy, the group behind the Grammys — was ousted, after just five months on the job, for alleged bullying and misconduct.
But Dugan said she was fired partly for reporting corruption at the Grammys, claiming that certain nominees were in the room while their categories were being voted on.
“It’s obvious you don’t do that, it’s insane,” Dugan told The Post.
One artist who was on last year’s committee was ranked 18th out of 20 in the song of the year category (which was later cut down to eight contenders) — but still managed to get a nomination, Dugan said.
Music industry insiders said Dugan’s accusations came as no surprise. “I never saw it myself, but it has been an open secret for a long time that some backroom deals are being done,” said Rob Kenner, who co-founded Vibe magazine and was a Grammys voter from 2010 until 2014.
One problem is that Grammys voters are easily swayed by recognizable names, Kenner said. [Dana’s note: So, is that why Jethro Tull won best Heavy Metal Performance in 1989?]
I was on the screening committee for reggae records. I learned an important rule from more experienced committee members: If you are on the fence about a record actually being reggae, be very careful if it was made by a famous name,” Kenner said. “It will have a good chance of winning over a more legitimate selection…”
…a music-business insider points out that the Grammys need star power — and that can taint the voting process. “The whole thing’s a quagmire,” the insider said. “It’s a television show. CBS pays 20 million for it. Follow the money. They only give out eight or nine awards on camera, so they have to have the great acts on camera — meaning, those people have to be nominated. And they can’t have schlubs!”
A music-industry publicist said the system has long been shady. “Let’s face it, the music business has always had corruption, more than film or TV. Remember all the payola scandals back in the day? The payoffs to radio people? It never really stopped. It just changed,” the publicist said, adding, “There’s favoritism in all award shows but the Oscars — they’re legit. But the Grammys have finagling and favoritism.”
A music executive, who has heard a number of “horror stories” this week, agreed. “One executive on the alternative category a few years ago told me they were upset that reps from a record label [with alternative artists] were in the voting room,” the source said.
Dugan said she had ideas for how to improve the voting process but claims she was told it was too late to discuss them in time for the 2020 awards ceremony. “This was in November, and I was told we could discuss it in June. That was seven months away.”
Meanwhile, she says, “I did find conflicts of interest in this year’s show…”
Read more at Page Six.