Thursday, January 17, 2008

Grammys in danger of black out

The organisers of the Grammys are getting a bit jumpy at the prospect of their 50th glittering event being run aground by the Hollywood writer's strike. The Writers Guild of America is lobbying artists to not show up for the event; the Recording Academy is hoping it can keep the ship afloat.

They've got some support: The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) have issued a heartfelt plea to writers to let the Grammys flow:

"AFM and AFTRA are encouraged by today's news that the Writers Guild of America has signed an interim agreement with the NAACP that will allow The 39th NAACP Image Awards to be telecast as scheduled," reads the statement. "John Cossette Productions, the producer of the 50th Annual Grammy Awards telecast, has made a written offer to the WGA to sign a similar interim agreement to allow the Grammy Awards to be telecast as planned on February 10.

Because, of course, the music industry's annual back-slap is on a par with an event run by, and for, a civil rights organisation. We can see the same principle should apply.
In light of the news that the producer of the Grammy Awards has made a firm offer to the WGA, AFM and AFTRA strongly urge all of our members to support the important work of the Recording Academy by participating in the Grammy events.

It's not just an awards ceremony. Oh, no. It's important work. Apparently, between the best Polka album and the best spoken-word album not featuring Larry King categories, they're going to really get cracking on finding a cure for cancer.

Not quite getting the idea of how a strike works, Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow has suggested writers should get involved for their own benefit:
Portnow pointed out that reaching an agreement to allow the show to go on "would both allow the talented writers for the show to be compensated fairly for their valuable services and allow us to demonstrate support for the creative community of writers in a tangible and meaningful way."

If only Thatcher had tried that with the miners - "come and dig some coal for the electricity industry, Mr Scargill, which will allow you to earn some money and allow us to show support for your withdrawal of labour."

Perhaps we're being unfair - maybe Portnow has plans for some sort of musical salute to striking writers. Possibly Prince and Beyonce dancing on a giant typewriter keyboard.

Wonderfully, Portnow attempts to use the RIAA's pursual of file-sharers to show that everyone's in this one together:
He made the argument that the music industry has been fighting to obtain fair compensation for artists' digital music, and thus supports the WGA in its fight to obtain similar results for its own members.

Let's not mention that many of the record labels are part of the same companies which are attempting to bilk the writers in the first place ("Universal are on your side... well, apart from the movie and television divisions...") and instead wonder exactly how 'companies trying to struggle cash from consumers for digital music' are in the same battle as 'writers trying to get their cut from the cash companies are already taking from consumers of digital video'. Besides sharing some of the same words.

Portnow concludes by arguing on behalf not just of children, or Americans, but the whole world:
Grammy Week represents the most significant worldwide music event of the year. And we are in a different industry than the motion picture and television business; I am quite certain that most are aware of the extremely difficult and challenging conditions facing our industry's creators and companies, unparalleled in our history. This year, more than ever, Grammy Week and the milestone of a 50th Grammy Awards, along with the 50th Anniversary of the founding of The Recording Academy, are a centerpiece and beacon of hope, optimism, and represent literally multi-millions of dollars in sales, promotion, and marketing for our musicians and as such, take on far more significance than simply three and one-half hours of television programming... Let me reiterate our desire to bring this matter to a positive resolution working with the WGA.

We've been struggling for years to work out what unit you measured hope and optimism in; who knew it was "millions of dollars of sales".

We're sure that 'please let us advertise our product on the television' is exactly the way to hit the striking writers' hearts.

1 comment:

Olive said...

In summary, Neil Portnow said "if you writers don't stop Lance Bass from looking like a pot plant when he reads out the nominations for best drum technician, then the terrorists have won"

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