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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    Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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