Post-Grammys Outrage: Music ≠ Competition


Time to hop on the ol’ soapbox real quick. The Grammys are over, and the morning after has been filled with dreadful post-show analysis. Let’s dive into one example before I start complaining:

  • Billie Eilish won five awards, and swept the biggest four categories. Some people say this proves she’s a mainstream success and has changed the landscape of pop music (which we already knew). Other people say the Recording Academy just set her up to win everything, trying to make it look like they pick the “cool” music that all the kids love.

Similar arguments could be found online about whether Ariana Grande got snubbed, if BTS got enough screen time, or Billy Porter’s hat was true fashion or a huge faux pas. But that’s not the point.

The point is that music has become a competition, and that makes it toxic. We’ve seen pop stars practically begging their fans for streams, as they fight a losing battle against hip hop in the digital world. Fans on twitter constantly attack each other over chart positions, and use the word “flop” to describe any song that isn’t their favorite singer’s current single.

This certainly isn’t new. For a long time now, we’ve told ourselves to stop comparing. Weight shouldn’t matter. The model of your car shouldn’t matter. Instagram totals shouldn’t matter. And we all agree with that, even if it’s tough to put our words into more healthy actions, sometimes.

Why don’t we recognize how unhealthy it is for the music industry to constantly compare people in these awards shows? All it does is spark argument at the worst, and debate at best. The only people celebrating Billie Eilish’s massive success on Sunday night? Billie Eilish’s fans. Billie herself didn’t even want to win her last award!

The Grammys didn’t start this problem (in all likelihood, the Billboard Charts did). But they’re not helping either. Surely the Recording Academy knows that they would make people mad by nominating Ariana Grande for five awards and then giving her exactly zero. But it’s all about the clicks. How many articles entitled “Ariana Shunned by Grammys” are circulating the web now? More than enough to make sure the entire conversation in the music industry is about winners and losers.

That mentality makes us all losers, obsessed with the glitz and glamour of awards that our favorite singers will only put on a shelf and never touch until they move into a new mansion.

Isn’t that just sad?