Saturday, February 9, 2019

Kendrick, Drake & Gambino Decline To Perform At The Grammys | Lefsetz Letter

The Grammys have not only lost touch with the audience, they’ve lost touch with the artists.

What if you gave a party and nobody came?

This is kinda like the election of Trump. Globalization left behind the underclass which decided to overturn the table. After years of appeasing CBS instead of the artistic community, Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino have refused to perform on the Grammy stage.

Good work my friends!

This is like Kaepernick, only today’s musical artists don’t depend upon the NFL, i.e. the Grammys, to work. That’s why change has come from entertainment first. The barrier to entry is low, and there are fewer constraints upon artists. As for labels…their leverage is their catalogues and their relationships with terrestrial radio and network television, could they be suffering a moment of truth soon?

Kinda like the Backstreet Boys being number one. Only in bizarro world, where the “Billboard” chart means anything. You can’t find a single Backstreet Boys tune in the Spotify Top 50. Meanwhile, “7 Rings,” the song Ariana Grande wanted to perform at the Grammys, is number one on Spotify, not only in the U.S., but the entire WORLD!

This is a fake news crisis. How is anybody supposed to believe a Grammy is important, has any gravitas, when there are eight nominees and an act can win with less than 15% of the old farts’ votes. This is when you lose hearts and minds.

Kinda like that inane article in the “New York Times” today about the loudness wars, what is this 2007? It turns out mainstream media is preaching to a tiny fraction of the public, mostly to those who are out of it. If you’re a fan of something, you go much deeper than the big media outlets ever go, so you laugh when you read an article like this.

But back to the Grammys…

Fans resent athletes making all that money, not realizing they bring in the fans and the owners are so much wealthier.

But when it comes to musical artists, perception is the acts earned their big bucks, and are allowed to spend them however they want to. They’re unfettered. So who gains cred here, Drake, Kendrick or Gambino or the Grammys?

Not the organization.

Neil Portnow has been asleep at the wheel for years. A caretaker who slept while the world changed.

And Ken Ehrlich has been out of control ever since he got Aretha Franklin to thank him during the Grammy telecast.

The Grammys are supposed to serve the industry, not defy it.

As for the big CBS contract… Ain’t that America, where you’re beholden to the bucks.

As for these three acts, they’ve got little to gain from appearing on the telecast. Their audience is already aware of them. They don’t depend upon TV to reach potential fans, the internet does it so much better, and there is no Grammy bounce.

This is what the internet and streaming have wrought. You don’t hear Drake complaining about streaming. He’s making plenty of bucks. It’s only the old people who triumphed under the old system who complain. They want their Oldsmobiles in a world of Teslas.

The Oscars lost touch because no one saw the nominated movies.

The Grammys lost touch because the deserved never won.

So Jay Z refuses to play the Super Bowl, says the NFL needs him more than he needs them.

That’s true.

And same deal with Drake, Lamar and Gambino.

This is important stuff, this is a turning point. After thirty years, the artists are taking back control of the industry, because the industry was asleep and driving towards the cliff.

This is like the sixties, when acts refused to record in label studios and use union engineers. When the contract said a label had to release the record, it could not shelve it.

You don’t need a label to put out a record today, and you certainly don’t need a Grammy to enhance your career.

As for the statuette, the legends who won always put them in the bathroom anyway.

And awards in art are a joke, how do you quantify? And with hindsight, so many of the winners are losers.

So I’m encouraging more acts to boycott the Grammys. To put an end to the charade. When you band together, you get change.

But one record and one act can change the world.

And obfuscation and lying are passe. Ehrlich makes up mumbo-jumbo about why Ariana Grande will not sing, and the woman herself takes to Twitter and calls him out, saying he’s wrong, and she needs no prep time.

The same oldsters who complain about social media and the “incomprehensible” Twitter are being bitten on the ass by it.
It ain’t your Daddy’s music business anymore.



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