Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is – Steve Stoute Spent $40,000 to Bash Grammys in NYT Ad Buy
As you read, music exec Steve Stoute took out a full-page ad in the New York Times last Sunday. But what did it cost and why did he do it? According to an estimate made by Hollywood Reporter, it may have cost Stoute upwards of $40,000 to bash the Grammys. And his thoughts? Worth it. Stoute thinks it’s unfair that the Grammys used Justin Bieber and Eminem to sell the show and garner higher ratings, yet praised Arcade Fire and Esperanza Spalding instead. He laments, “you can't ask people to perform and use those same performers to promo the show in order to get the ratings. That's where it becomes unfair.”
In other words, Stoute believes that the Grammys baited and switched both audiences and artists. They used brands like Bieber and Eminem to convince people to watch the Grammys – had both perform – but gave “Best New Artist and “Album of the Year” to Arcade Fire and Spalding, who most viewers had never even heard of. “Also, it's not like the Grammys pay for these performances,” Stoute told Hollywood Reporter. “Those budgets come out of the managers' pockets and the label's.” It’s an interesting argument, but this isn't new.
Rolling Stone uses pictures of Katy Perry to sell magazines. Studios use star actors to drag viewers into theaters even if they play a minor role. But are the Grammys wrong for building the momentum of their show on the backs of Bieber and Eminem? If the Grammys used Arcade Fire and Spalding it would’ve been a mess, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t just as deserving of recognition.
Did Spalding cut through and become a global brand like Beiber did?
No. But is that the metric of success that the Grammys should use? No. Who wants to watch an award show where Beiber and Eminem always win at the end?
Stoute seems to think Bieber is entitled to win and that’s sad.
Both Arcade Fire and Spalding have far more to gain from winning than Beiber and Eminem, and the stats prove it. There may have been backlash, but many, many viewers were probably presently surprised to discover new music. People love underdogs just as much as the stars and it’s important not to forget that.
Besides, it’s not like this is the first time the Grammys gave an award to an outlier and let’s hope that it’s not going to be the last. Winners shouldn't take all.
At least not all the time.