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The Grammys Have Officially Lost Touch With Planet Earth

There are truths that are widely held as fact in every generation. At one time it was that jocks were cool and computers were nerdy. At another time it was that the fatter you were, the more distinguished you must be. In todays world, there aren’t many truths. People are quick to try to disprove fact as fast as you can click ‘post’ on Facebook. One truth that I believe is as close to universal as it gets is that we, as a society, love ingesting media.

We love it.

From cats with hats to soldiers reuniting with families. We love to watch videos, look at photos and listen to stories about…well, just about anything. If you ask almost any person born between 1940 and 2011, they can and will be able to tell you about their favorite YouTube video or pull up something on an iPad that they have deemed sharable.

Why is it then, that The Recording Academy, the body that governs so much good in the music world including The Grammy Awards, is so out of touch with the public?

If you were to go on YouTube around 10am on Monday, February 9th you would have been able to do a search for one of the many solid Grammy performances from the night before. You’d find bootleg after bootleg with varying degrees of quality. Ed Sheeran with immortals like John Mayer and Herbie Hancock, auto-tuned to avoid detection. You’d see Pharrell’s performance of “Happy” squeezed into a smaller television so that the YouTube police wouldn’t catch on as fast.

Minutes after my first search around 10am, videos started dropping like flies. YouTube and the record labels were submitting copyright breach notices and YouTube was in turn, removing the videos. Clearly, someone didn’t want me to make a list of my top 5 performances.

The Grammys does own a YouTube channel but instead of posting performances, they focused on the red carpet and the acceptance speeches. It was as if The Recording Academy was ignoring the portion of the show that, according to their own poll, most fans love the most. According to the poll, posted on Monday, 49% of fans loved the performances the more than any other part of the show. Only 7% voted for the Red Carpet and 16% cared about the actual winners. Maybe they should start listening to what their fans actually want.

The Grammys does something that no other award show does and they do it so well. Where else can we see Paul McCartney perform alongside Kanye West and Rihanna? Where else do you get Hozier and Annie Lennox or Kristen Wiig performing Sia’s incredible video for “Chandeliers,” live? How about Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett? There is no other source for these moments.

It wasn’t until a few hours past that some performances started slowly seeping onto YouTube. The official channels for artists like Sia and Beyonce posted their performances. Still, not all of the collaborations made it up. You still can not find a record of Ed Sheeran, Electric Light Orchestra or Kanye West on YouTube at the Grammy Awards.

Having worked in the record industry for some time, I completely understand the complexity of these awards shows. There are agreements on top of agreements on top of agreements. Sure, maybe the artists have the right to post their own performances to YouTube. But that’s an agreement so far above the heads of the people that really matter. The fans. Fans that don’t care about who posts something. All they care about is getting to enjoy a moment that they either enjoyed so much or missed entirely.

All I wanted, in the moments following 10am, was to find a few videos, post them into a list and call it my top 5 performances. Maybe some of my readers didn’t catch the show. Maybe they were in the bathroom during Lennox and Hozier’s awesome duet of “Take Me To Church.” In any case, it is a shame that The Recording Academy just doesn’t get it. In a world where media is king, they hold the key to some of coolest media and instead of bannering it with ads and making a profit from it, they have locked it away and apparently thrown away the key.

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