As I Lay Dying have, as you'll be aware, been invited to the Grammys. They've been nominated for "best metal performance" and were quite excited. At first. Then Tim Lambesis started to think about the deal, at first in a "who are these guys to dictate taste" way, and then with slightly more serious worries. He's written about them online, as has guitarist Nick Hipa.
Hipa has decided he's going to go, and come to terms with what the Grammys are:
Tim, though, has more worries than just the question of who makes up the jury:
Now, this payday off artists is quite fascinating. Six nominees in 109 categories, even if you assume that, say, each nominee is up for three prizes, that gives a rough-and-ready potential number of 'honoured guests' of about 200... although, of course, most prizes have more than one name attached to them - but let's say that, averaging out the quartets, sextets, orchestras, producers and engineers that comes to, shall we say, six hundred people up for prizes in total? And if they each want to bring a spouse, partner, sexual intimate or stalker, that's over a third of a million dollars potentially to be made there. Before the three hundred quid a head extra guests.
Now, AILD's Nick thinks this might not be quite as outrageous as it seems:
Hmm. Well, you might think, the large sum of cash being pocketed for the television rights might cover the cost of hiring a venue and providing some food?
And then there's a large list of sponors who are pumping money into the awards - People, GM, Delta, USA Today, Verizon, Westwood One, Hilton, Nokia, Delta. Couldn't their payments go towards paying the costs of the event?
Membership of the Academy, by the way, costs about $100 - couldn't that huge slush fund be dipped into to allow people to take their Mums to the awards?
And even if the event was going to have to be paid for out of attendees' pockets, three hundred dollars a head? You could have a pretty good time for three hundred dollars a head, don't you think?.
But making it even more galling that friends and family of the Grammy nominees are looked to for a quick payday is if you remember the point of the awards, as explained by Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow when he was trying to persuade the writer's guild to not force the event off the air:
The event is a marketing tool for the music industry - and, effectively, they've found a way of charging the people without whom there would be no commercial to take part in the advertising.
If anyone should be paying the costs of the people who turn up - creating the atmosphere at the Grammys (such as it is) and giving the sponsors something to sponsor, and the audience something to watch, shouldn't it be coming out of the marketing coffers of the RIAA?