'We have come together ... to discuss how the Recording Academy can continue to evolve,' CEO Neil Portnow and marketing mogul say.
By Alvin Blanco
Steve Stoute has succeeded in getting the attention of the Recording Academy.
After the music-marketing mogul penned an "open letter" last month, decrying the Grammys as being out of touch with current musical trends and culture, Stoute and Neil Portnow, the president and CEO of the Recording Academy announced that those complaints are going to be addressed.
"The voices of artists and our creative community are at the heart of the missions of the Recording Academy and indeed the music industry itself," Portnow and Stoute said in a joint statement issued on Thursday (March 3). "Expanding constructive and positive ways to continue to actively incorporate generational and artistic diversity in the Academy's development and good work serves those important missions. The participation of new and culturally diverse voices has and continues to be a goal which benefits our members, the creative community, and music fans everywhere."
This new alliance of sorts stems from the letter Stoute, the founder and CEO of Translation Marketing, wrote via a full-page ad in The New York Times days after the 2011 Grammys. The open letter was addressed to Partnow and the Recording Academy and was critical of what Stoute saw as snubs of popular artists at the awards show. The music-industry vet argued that mainstream acts such as Eminem were deserving of awards but lost to lesser-known acts like Arcade Fire, and then went on to say, "The awards show has become a series of hypocrisies and contradictions, leaving me to question why any contemporary popular artist would even participate."
Stoute later clarified his initial statement, saying that hearing "big, credible artists" complain about some of the winners inspired him to write the letter. He also said that Arcade Fire performing twice during the show had raised some eyebrows.
Arcade Fire manager Scott Rodger responded with an open letter of his own, noting he was proud of the band and calling Stoute's letter "a nice piece of self publicity."
Although no changes to the Grammy Award selection process have been announced, the topic appears now to be open to discussion from both sides. The statement continued, "To that end, we have come together in a collaborative manner to discuss how the Recording Academy can continue to evolve in an ever-changing cultural environment. We invite others who share this agenda to join us in these discussions."
What do you think of how the Grammy organization has responded? Tell us in the comments!