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Musicians Protest Grammys
“I thought it was a real slap in the face for the thousands musicians that make music,” said singer, Ray Benson on Grammy night.
Benson who provides the lead vocals for his band Asleep at the Wheel was in Austin Sunday evening. The nine-time Grammy winner was one of many musicians who protested this year’s award show. The reason? The Recording Academy eliminated more than 30 categories of awards this year.
One of those eliminated categories, country instrumental, Asleep at the Wheel has already won six times.
The Grammy’s have long been accused of favoring commercial success over artistic excellence. And Benson said this was the last straw for him. He feels disenfranchised by the new rules.
The Recording Academy said it wanted to slim the awards ceremony down by restructuring categories to bring the total down to 78. So, they cut Latin jazz, contemporary jazz, classical and world music, just to name a few.
Benson and other musicians see the move as a power play by corporate major labels against the smaller indie labels. Benson said he took it into his own hands and let the Recording Academy know how he felt.
“I sent them a nasty letter you know and then last week I sent them a nice letter for recommendations of changing it back,” he said with a smile. “I won my first Grammy in 1978 and back then it was all about the arts and sciences of recording music and now it’s about who’s selling more.”
The Academy is considering bringing back some of those eliminated categories next year. Other musicians took it further than Ray and filed a lawsuit aimed at forcing them to rescind the changes.
There's also a petition with more than 23,000 signatures in support of the reinstatement of the categories.