Saturday, February 09, 2008

It's not just Amy having problems with deciding if she should go

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:

I don't think its right to demonize the Grammy society. They're not telling us what is and isn't good music, I think they're casting votes on who is doing what they do well... or maybe standing out the most... Now obviously they all don't know much about metal because I can't think of a single awesome thing KING DIAMOND or SLAYER did THIS year.

Tim, though, has more worries than just the question of who makes up the jury:
So, a few weeks go by with me battling this question in my head when I find out that as a nominated 'guest of honor,' I am not able to have even my wife come with me unless I pay $600 for her seat. I know that someone has to help pay for the ceremony, but even a nominated artist trying to bring his better half!? This is when I first started thinking the Grammys might not be for me. Later, I also learn that our label, management and parents can't go unless they pay $300 for seats that are nowhere near where we sit. Basically, all the people that deserve to enjoy this 'special' moment along with the band are unable to do so. Our record label has always been the one at the forefront of great business and marketing decisions that help bring the band to a new level of notoriety. Likewise, our managers have helped to steer us in the right direction ever since we started working with them a few years back. Then there's our lawyer, booking agent, and countless others I could name that have played significant roles in getting us to this point. And, going to the very beginning, my parents deserve so much credit for helping me pursue my dream when no one else could see it. Now, not only is some out of touch elite committee telling us what they think good music should be, but then they try to make the artists they nominate pay a ridiculous amount for the event that we can't even enjoy with all the people that really made this possible.

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:
In trying to figure out WHY they would charge us to bring people, I came up with a plausible explanation: I started thinking it would be flat-out wrong if they charged any nominee to go to the ceremony. And if they didn't charge any nominee's supporters (family, friends, managers, agents, etc.) then how would they be able to pay for the ceremony itself? The production, the venues, the performances, and the presenters, that's got to be a lot of money. If everyone I wanted to get in got in for free, and so did everyone else who got nominated, then who pays for it? It is this thinking that made me give up on being bitter about them charging us.

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:
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.

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?

No comments:

Post a Comment

As a general rule, posts will only be deleted if they reek of spam.