The other day I saw on Facebook a post, by a producer and engineer I really like, of a torn voting ballot for the GRAMMYs. I had mixed feelings about this, especially after seeing the comments of some other highly respected peers supporting this attitude. Although I understand and even agree that most of the time the GRAMMYs feel like a popularity contest and truly believe that there is no "best" in art, I feel that the only way we can change this historic award show is by participating.
We tend, as people, to always search for what's the best whatever. Oh, Pro Tools is the best DAW (cough cough), Neve gear is the best, oh Neumann mics... Jimi was the best guitarist, Malmsteen is the best... None of these discussions make any sense. There is not one single true answer to any of these questions. So maybe instead of "Best Album" we should call it the "Album That Titillated The Most People"?
Maybe if we can transform the GRAMMYs to really be an award decided by your peers, really following the "Judge by Quality Alone" rule, maybe, just maybe, the award can be elevated to something the industry, as a whole, can be proud of. Remember that glorious moment when Esperanza Spalding won best new artist? And she was up against some major players. Maybe, just maybe, if we all participate by voting, smaller, less known artists will start appearing on people's radars. Maybe more music and less "product" will be featured.
I don't believe that disenfranchising yourself from the process will change anything (and this applies to other much more important elections or referendums). I believe participation and being involved in something is the only way to change it. The industry is so diverse that it would be close to impossible to have everyone happy, but if only we could all feel that the awards really represented us... I know I am naive, but a guy can dream, right?
And with that, on to voting on the first ballot...