Entertainment Weekly is reporting that veteran music executive Steve Stoute is slamming the Grammys and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for "snubbing" teen sensation Justin Bieber and veteran rapper Eminem. In a full-page ad in the New York Times, Stoute accused the organization of losing touch with contemporary pop culture and failing to acknowledge the talents of hugely successful artists like Bieber and Eminem. Stoute also criticized how the artists are used to help increase ratings for the broadcast by appearing on the show and then discarded.
To further his argument about how NARAS is out of touch, Stoute — who is best known for once managing the rapper Nas — also took issue with how Kanye West's Graduation was beaten out for album of the year by Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters during the 50th Annual Grammys, and how Steely Dan triumphed over Enimem in 2001.
Stoute is on that stuff. Steely Dan, Hancock and Esperanza Spalding are infinitely more talented than Bieber, Eminem and West combined. There is something to be said for longevity and talent, and popularity should not drive recognition for achievement. Spalding is interesting and talented, and her album was bar none one of the best this year. Just because she doesn't have Stoute's marketing machine behind her doesn't mean that she should be snubbed for Bieber, who is unproven and will hopefully become a better performer as he grows and matures, if the industry will let him.
Giving someone something to work for isn't always a bad thing. Eminem is perhaps the most celebrated rapper of the last 20 years, and we all know that this last album was not his best. The nomination was surprising anyway, because if you know Eminem's body of work, then you know that he is capable of so much more. We're sure his eight Grammys consoled him greatly during this loss.
Using artists to attract viewers is marketing 101. The artists also get added exposure when they appear on these shows, which translates directly to sales, so it is not a one-way street. Stoute, who is amazingly talented in his own right, needs to get over it. For some reason, we're sure that Eminem and Bieber can stand up for themselves if, in fact, they feel this way.
Read more and read the letter in its entirety at Entertainment Weekly.