Saturday, February 09, 2008

Grammy Reform

Sunday night, like most of America, I will not be watching the Grammys. The problem with the Grammys is simple: there are way too many awards. There will be 110 Grammys awarded this year (not including the 49 Latin Grammys awarded in the fall). They are broken down into 31 different fields: General Field, Pop, Dance, Traditional Pop, Rock, Alternative, R&B, Rap, Country, New Age, Jazz, Gospel, Latin (in addition to the separate Latin Grammys), Blues, Folk, Reggae, World Music, Polka, Children’s, Spoken Word, Comedy, Musical Show, Film/TV/Visual Media, Composing/Arranging, Package, Album Notes, Historical, Production Non-Classical, Surround Sound, Production Classical, Classical, and Music Video. Clearly, this is way too many.

Let’s start with the General Category. This category consists of the four awards that cross all categories, Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. We can easily trim this down to two awards.

Best New Artist – GONE – who cares whether you’re new or not, we only care whether you suck or not.

Best Album, Best Song – KEEP both to honor the Overall Best Album and the Overall Best Song. We probably don’t really need both, but we will keep them for now.

Record of the Year – GONE – How does this differ from Best Album of Best Song? Merge it with them.

Now onto the categories.

The Pop, Dance, Traditional Pop, Rock, and Alternative categories can all be boiled down into one Rock category. There are 18 Grammys awarded in these categories and they can all be boiled down to two: Best Rock Album and Best Rock Song.

Likewise, R&B, Rap, Gospel, Blues, and Reggae can be merged into one R&B category with two awards, Best R&B Album and Best R&B Song.

Country, Folk, and Polka can compete for Best Country Album and Best Country Song.

Jazz, New Age, and World Music can compete for Best Jazz Album and Best Jazz Song.

So far so good, we have cut 77 awards down to 10.
The following categories should be cut out completely:

Children’s – Children shouldn’t be staying up this late anyway.

Comedy – No one has listened to a comedy record in twenty years.

Film/TV/Visual Media – They already have the far more prestigious Oscars and Emmys.

Latin – They already have the Latin Grammys (which should probably be cut down to two awards, but that is a different post).

Musical Show – They already have the Tonys.

Package – They have the Adult Film Awards.

Album Notes – No one reads them even if they buy the album instead of downloading it.

Historical – What?

Surround Sound – A TV or stereo feature, not an award category.

Music Video – MTV doesn’t even play videos anymore.

Composing/Arranging and Production Non-Classical – Only their mothers care.

Classical and Production Classical – We would be doing classical musicians a favor by cutting them out of the Grammys. I would imagine that a variation of the following conversation is quite common in classical music circles:

Congratulations, Angelin, on winning the Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (with Orchestra) Grammy.

Thank you very much, Sisyphus.

Now you’re only eleven Grammys behind the Dixie Chicks.

That leaves Spoken Word. The temptation is to cut this category too, but look at the last five winners of the Best Spoken Word Grammy: Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Al Franken, and Maya Angelou. Voters for every award need a category to honor their favorite Liberal Democrat, or they will do something like give Nancy Pelosi the Grammy for Best R&B Album. Thus we need to keep this category, but change the name to the more descriptive: Best Liberal Democrat Grammy.

There you have it; I have cut the Grammys down from a bloated 110 to a svelte 11. Next I will look at cutting the Federal Budget.


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