Steve Stoute Is Doing a Poor Job Explaining His Anti-Grammys Campaign

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Former music-industry exec Steve Stoute got a lot of attention earlier this week with his full page ad in the New York Times bashing the Grammys. Sensibly, The Hollywood Reporter called him up to explain himself. The first thing we learned: Taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times will cost you $40,000. The second thing we learned: Steve Stoute is not selling his Grammys criticism all that well. In his words:


THR: You've taken Esperanza Spalding to task in particular ...

Stoute: Because there are many people who hadn't even heard of her. By the way, this was her third album, not her first, but she wins Best New Artist over Drake and Justin Bieber? How did this happen? I was sitting there watching the awards show with very prominent executives, one of them had to Google her. And I'm not saying I don't like her music, because that's not the point. What Drake and Justin Bieber did to cut through and become global brands, it's hard for anybody to argue that they're not Best New Artist ...

They might not appreciate Kanye West's Graduation, either. It sold a million copies in its first week, yet the Album of the Year [in 2008] went to Herbie Hancock, who had 55,000 units sold at that time. They're late to the cultural conversation on what really matters... NARAS voters are coming from an analog point of view, from yesterday. They're not taking the time to understand this new voice and where it's coming from.

What he's trying to say is, There does exist a general consensus on who should win, and when that general consensus is again and again not represented, something is wrong. What he is saying is, The people who sell the most should automatically get more consideration. The main takeaway here — that the voting system appears to be flawed and the option of changing it should at least be explored — Vulture agrees with. But saying that an artist deserves an award because they sold more, rather than saying an artist deserves an award because they had more of a cultural impact, doesn't make sense.

Steve Stoute Explains $40,000 NYT Ad Attacking Grammys [HR]