Brit Awards Conspiracy?

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Lily Allen, the up-and-coming reggae-pop singer whose recent show at the Great American in San Francisco I thoroughly enjoyed (and, full disclosure, DJed before), was snubbed at the Brit Awards last night in London. Turns out she had predicted in advance that she wouldn’t win a single trophy and blamed record industry politics, telling MTV UK that because the voting juries were made up of “industry insiders… predominantly from Universal,” she wouldn’t win, since she’s on EMI. Music blog Stereogum did some math and added up how many of the Brit awards went to Universal artists: a somewhat eyebrow-raising 61%. Hmmm.

So of course one can’t help but wonder: any conspiracies back here in the States at the recent Grammys? Well, I did some math and added up basically all the pop and jazz categories, although I didn’t include the random gospel and Norteno stuff because I got tired. Out of the 56 categories I tallied, the results were:

  • Sony / BMG: 41% (23 awards)
  • Universal: 27% (15 awards)
  • Warner: 20% (11 awards)
  • Apparently unaffilliated independents (mostly random jazz stuff): 9% (5 awards)
  • EMI: 3% (2 awards)
  • Of course this kind of non-scientific study doesn’t take into account stuff like actual market share or number of nominees, but still… while Universal isn’t quite as dominant here in the US, EMI was almost completely shut out. Their two awards were kind of random as well: OK Go for Short Form Video, and Coldplay for Best Remix, which, come to think of it, really goes to Stuart Price whose recent work with Madonna might make that more of a Warner award anyway.

    It’s hard to imagine record labels actually going to the trouble to rig the Grammys, since most of the music-buying public basically ignores them. Although, shut my mouth, the Dixie Chicks have rocketed to #1 on both the album and singles charts on iTunes this week (with 8-month-old material), so clearly a highly-publicized Grammy rout can still affect sales. Well, who knows, and really, who cares: people will be instantly downloading free music from HyperMySpace on the World WiFi into their BrainPods in a couple years anyway.

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    We've never been very good at being conservative.

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    This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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