Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » Grammy Performances

You can’t get anyone to do the show.

The airwaves used to be flooded with CBS announcing the stars who would be appearing at the Grammys. Not this year. Because most superstars don’t commit!

Because they don’t need it.

Yes, the script is reversed. In the past, the stars needed the show for exposure. Now, fans of the mostly young acts that dominate the Spotify charts (ignore “Billboard,” it’s rigged and inaccurate, only for the industry and the sycophantic press that prints it) don’t watch network TV. And certainly don’t want to sit through any advertising. And they know if something good happens, they can watch it online afterwards (assuming CBS allows the clips to be posted on YouTube, which they usually don’t, meaning you have to go to the network’s homepage, which none of yours usual stops, find the clip, click on the ad and watch and…why bother). And the truth is that today’s acts have a plethora of videos online, who needs another clip?

Artists used to spend fortunes to produce (or their labels…) for the show. Now that’s a waste of money. We’ve learned that late-night TV appearances don’t move the needle, now we know that awards shows with their tanking ratings don’t either, so why bother showing up!

All this nonsense about the Grammys that alienates the artists… Well, it’s true, but it’s not the main reason why the acts aren’t performing, it’s just not to their career advantage. Have you ever tried to get an artist to do something? YOU think it’s a slam dunk, the good charity, this or that, but it’s almost impossible to get unless you’re personally related/involved. It’s their career, they don’t see the benefit, and they’re all challenged over time, and if you don’t pay… Yes, a million and a half is the standard price for a private these days. It’s gone from a million. And true superstars get several million. And you want them to show up for free? Will not happen.

I mean, if CBS paid for the acts…

That’s not in the budget.

As for the budget… that’s how the Academy makes its balls every year by paying CBS for the show. Do you think CBS will continue to spend big bucks on a low-rating show that doesn’t even feature stars? Well, the tenure is still a while away, but as for renewal…

So the boys’ club Recording Academy implodes, and no one saw it coming, although everyone outside saw it.

Women… Businesses bend over backwards to place and uplift women. What does the academy do? Hire a woman and fire her for wanting to change too quickly! Do you think the ancients forgot? And the youngsters never cared about the academy and their bogus award show anyway. As for the trophy… Who remembers who won? It was all about looks. The trophy is only important for niche artists who include it on their resume. A true star doesn’t show off their Grammys, or if they do, they’re in the bathroom. They see their fellow artists beating them down for it!

But at least the music still has real stars. As for movies and TV…they’re soulless normal people.

It’s not that you can’t see the train coming down the tracks. Network ratings generally fall. Young people do not listen to terrestrial radio. Streaming is king (while the Academy members are all against streaming, I won’t even bother to go into the economics, but Spotify lets everyone see how crappy their streams are). Evolve or die. And the Academy and the antiques and sub-acts that dominate it want to live in the past. I bet a bunch of them drive Teslas… How come they can’t apply that mindset to their organization?

And music is inherently reluctant to organize. That’s what makes music so powerful, it’s the anti. Without inherent criteria. So you break out, throw the rules of society overboard, and then want to conform and go to bed with these overlords? I do not think so.

It’s not just the Grammys. And it’s not just award shows. More than twenty years have passed since Napster, a whole generation. Young people have no idea what happened in the 90’s and before and they don’t care. They don’t even have a CD player, let alone buy CDs. Music is plentiful, not scarce. And why would anyone steal music when you can get anything for $10 a month?

The music moves so fast and the smug academy so slow.

I might point out how to try to save it, but why bother, it deserves to die.

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