Group threatens CBS with boycott over Grammy reduction

A group of musicians is threatening to organize a boycott of CBS, network of the 2012 Grammy Awards, after the Recording Academy dropped 31 categories, according to the Associated Press. In April, the Academy announced that the number of Grammy categories would be reduced from 109 to 78, and the group, led by Grammy-nominated Latin jazz musician Bobby Sanabria, charges that this move intentionally and unfairly targets ethnic music. The new Grammy policy has drawn criticism from the likes of Bill Cosby, Herbie Hancock, and Paul Simon.

In a response, the Academy said in a statement: “The Recording Academy’s Board of Trustees and its committees — made up of elected, qualified voting members from The Academy’s 12 Chapter Cities around the country and a broad spectrum of music makers — spent two years researching and ultimately making the decision to restructure the Grammy Awards Categories for reasons that had everything to do with recognizing excellence in music and the integrity of our awards and nothing to do with ethnicity or race. We were up front, transparent, and painstakingly clear about how and why the awards restructuring was done, and any allegations that the process was carried out in secret or without warning are demonstrably false.

“We respect the right of our members to their opinions, and continue to listen to their views with open minds. There is no basis for any kind of legitimate legal claim. We cannot comment on a hypothetical lawsuit.”

CBS declined to comment.


Comments (27 total) Add your comment
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  • Ryan

    They are entitled to their opions, but I feel most award shows have become so bloated and have so many awards it’s almost crazy. So I can understand why the Recording Academy made this call.

    • waytoofriendly

      I agree with you about award shows in general. However the Grammys actually televise so few of the awards that I don’t think it will make much difference to the actual telecast.

      • Fyrkat

        No, it’ll make no difference, except that there are fewer solo performance categories with most of the male/female categories amalgamated into “best solo performance” awards.

    • dfhth


      t s h i r t s -12

      s h o e s -35

      b i k i n i -17


    • GrammyWatch

      Actually this decision was the will of the Suits. The longtime NARAS Members nor the Governors in any of the 12 Chapters around the country had any input into this decision. For this reason and others, many have signed the Petition at www. GrammyWatch .org

  • Dee Jones

    Well alot of artist won`t get recognized because of this. I don`t like this idea. It`s taking away from those who should`ve gotten a nomination.

    • Keith

      If an artist’s music is good enough it will be nominated, that’s the point. These changes will ensure that it isn’t easy to win a Grammy, that only quality nominees will be chosen and that the winner will actually deserve it.

    • eh

      It’s great to be recognized, but hopefully artists put more stock in making music than receiving a grammy. Sometimes the greatest artists toil and make music that just aren’t recognized, that doesn’t mean they are valued any less.

  • Torrence5

    The problem with most award shows are they don’t focus on the awards; granted the Grammys can not give out 78 or 102 awards during the telecast, but more awards should be given and less performances. Of cousre, performances are what viewers wanted & the Grammys want high tv ratings. Like any award show it has become a tv event & not an event to recognize excellent within a certain filed (music, tv, movies, etc).

    • Fyrkat

      Soooo true.

  • Amilah

    I can’t help but wonder if this in another attempt by maintstream music to limit creativity. Those categories include a great deal of independent artists that don’t have big labels backing them. For those who don’t know how to discover new music, these categories helped give recognition to lesser known artists but none the less have huge followings – ErRo Fam!

    • Fyrkat

      Wow. They condensed all solo performance categories, except pop, so that men and women are competing for the same grammy. If they were going to do that, why not do that in the pop field too.
      And Best Liner Notes??? WTF!! That was one to get rid of, for sure.
      Looking over the list I can see why people are saying it is an affront to the ethnic music genres and for the most part, I agree. But I also agree that the total amount of awards needed to be scaled back.
      It’s a fine line that in the end will always upset somebody.

      • Joe

        What are you guys talking about? The Female Pop Vocal Performance and the Male Pop Vocal Performance were indeed turned into “Best Pop Vocal Performance,” and so were the same categories in the country field. The Rock category also did some sniping and tweaking. How are the grammys targeting ethnic music exactly? I belong to an ethnic minority, and after checking out the category comparison at the Grammys’ site, I don’t get how this ethnic targeting conclusion was reached.

  • Martina

    Yeah, those allegations are ridiculous. The pop, country and rock fields all went from 7 awards to 4. The gospel,jazz, R&B, Rap, and Latin fields all went from 7-8 awards to 4. Then why in the hell do people assert that the Grammys are targeting ethnic music?

  • Fiveagainstone

    First of all, don’t most of those protesting the change have enough Grammys as it is? Second, the change affects EVERYONE so it’s not an “ethnic” issue. Those protesting are just plain greedy, so let them boycott all they want. More room for other musicians. Personally I applaud the change. Too many useless awards anyway.

  • GrammyWatch

    70% of the Awards cut are American musics based in ethnic categories, none of which were ever featured on the live broadcast extravaganza, meanwhile CBS and NARAS signed another 10-year deal a couple weeks ago, more of the same. Support diversity in the Grammy Awards, sign the Petition at GrammyWatch . org

  • Dave

    WOW, who cares. Hahaha, what a joke.

  • The Truth

    How exactly is this a CBS issue when they do not determine numbers and types of awards? All they do is produce the awards show not the awards themselves.

    • GrammyWatch

      Because CBS ratings are guaranteed go much higher with pole dancers and virtual music videos, rather than featuring real musicians playing ethnically-based, non-pop musics. www. GrammyWatch .org

  • zimzyma

    The grammys are more about sales rather than artist merit…that’s what really should be boycotted.

    • GrammyWatch

      Yes, unfortunately the current leadership of NARAS have made the Grammys more about about “the numbers”, rather than on musicians recognizing musicians for artistic and musical excellence in every style, which the Grammys were founded on in the first place. But you can’t tell that to JayZ/Justin Beiber lobbyist Stephen Stoute who took out that full page ad in the New York Times, who castigated the NARAS musician members who awarded Esperanza Spalding wih the ‘Best New Artist’ Grammy over Beiber, whose fans launched a vicious hate campaign against Spalding. Current NARAS President Neil Portnow, rather than defending NARAS members for their decision, immediately responded to Stoute’s ad (see Rolling Stone mag, Mar 4 2011). And then proceeded to cut diversity out of the Grammy Awards. BTW, Bieber was recently awarded a Country Music Award(!), don’t know if that was a consolation prize; but maybe he’ll finally be guaranteed a Grammy next year…

  • Lost In The World

    The change was needed. There were too many useless categories where artists were just given awards. It’s not about race. Categories were cut in the mainstream categories, but do you see GaGa, Beyonce, Usher, etc. complaining? No. Some of those “ethnic” fields were not getting enough submissions, therefore they were combined with other categories to be more competitive, just like the mainstream fields. How in the hell can they sue the Grammys? It’s not their award show to begin with. It’s not discrimination, and I don’t see how they will go far in the courts with this argument/suit. All they have to look at is how the mainstream categories were cut from 7-8 to 4 per field, and they will lose. I mean, common sense. They should just see how this year goes with the change before they start crying about not getting “gimme Grammys.”

  • Otis Gray

    1st – I know plenty of musicians that have been nominated in the “cut” categories that have never won a grammy. 2nd- perhaps it does affect everyone, i have not researched this. But, does it adversely affect ethnic categories more than the others? 3rd – how can squeezing down the categories “make room for other musicians?”
    Personal opinion – there is no need to squeeze down the grammies, since most of the awards are given off air.

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