It all started when Zac Brown Band won the Grammy for “Best New Artist” earlier this year… and, horrors – unthinkable – Lady Gaga wasn’t even nominated!
This week, the Recording Academy that oversees the Grammy Awards changed the rules about who is eligible for the “Best New Artist” category. All of this must have made the parents of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta proud. They’re Lady Gaga’s folks. She has had quite an effect on the rules of the game. Rules, you say – who needs rules? After all, two of the most important values coming out of the Hollywood music industry are self-promotion and immediate gratification, right?
Here’s what happened: as of last year, anyone already nominated in another Grammy category (Gaga’s first single “Just Dance” was nominated for Best Dance Recording in 2008) was disqualified from the Best New Artist category. But now, artists who have already won a Grammy (or released multiple albums) are exempt from the category. If someone has won a Grammy for that earlier work, though, they aren’t eligible.
A spokesperson for the Academy explained, “More and more, the first release of a new artist is as a featured artist on someone else’s album, or the new artist may release a single long before the release of the first album.”
All of this just makes the Grammys even less relevant or significant, if possible. The lesson here is that the rules don’t apply when the end result might mean fewer album sales in an industry that is continually imploding. Grammy wins translate to sales from the sheep out there in the buying public who feel they are out-of-touch if they don’t already own a copy of the hottest new artist’s debut album. There is no doubt that the Grammy Awards were upset that a mere country band won an award that might have gone to the scary, headline-dominating Madonna-wannabe. After all, why should the recording industry promote live musicians at the expense of electro-pop couture? While they’re at it – why don’t they just go ahead and give her the Lifetime Achievement Award?
And let her retire. Please.