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MUSIC

Grammys Nod to Streaming Music in Last-Ditch Stand for Relevance

Signature Event Still Trying to Catch Up

Beyonce is now the most nominated artist in Grammy history. Can music's signature event break out of its rut? (Photo: Getty)

Beyonce is now the most nominated artist in Grammy history. Can music’s signature event break out of its rut? (Photo: Getty)

The Grammys, music’s biggest night, lumbers into its 59th year besieged by failing ratings and dwindling demographics. Does anyone even care anymore–outside of industry insiders and 12-year-old girls? The entire telecast could be re-titled “An Annual Tribute to Beyonce.”

Every year, it seems, the same four or five homogenized pop stars vie for the evening’s biggest accolades.

Then, a stupid remark by Kanye and a performance by The Foo Fighters are followed by… curtains.

Fortunately someone at headquarters must be thinking the same thing. Low and behold, after almost a decade of streaming services like Pandora, Rhapsody, and Spotify, the 2017 Grammys will broaden its horizon.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), which hosts the awards, is finally recognizing successful streaming artists like Chance the Rapper and country singer Kelsea Ballerini.

Both fall outside the major label umbrella. But, is it too little too late?

In their zeal to pander to the online generation, show producers are overlooking music legends like Prince and David Bowie. Both passed this year, and neither will receive a tribute of any kind during the upcoming festivities. Tragic.

While music, and the way we listen to music, become more diverse, eclectic and experimental, this musical frog-on-a-log telecast seems to spend each year trying to figure out how not to suck as bad as last year.

They’ve got a long way to go.

At this point in the game, especially after refusing to honor such gifted icons as Ziggy and The Purple One, it’s quite obvious, the last things The Grammys are about is artistry and music.

Rather, it’s a celebration of commerce–a “Members Only” club, of commercialism at its finest. The lucky few gather to shout “Hooray for us!” Yet, the “Us” part seems to be getting smaller and smaller with each passing telecast.

Sure, they throw in a cool, hip Youtube sensation with fifty million hits here and there, but, in the big picture, music’s biggest night has nothing to offer most music fans, because there’s not much music out there to begin with.

Take away the dance numbers and costume changes and you’re left with about two or three artists who actually play an instrument, let alone write their own songs.

But this is what we get when companies like Live Nation and iHeartRadio are allowed to control almost everything involving radio and/or concerts.

Why would you expect anything else but the same eight to ten sound-alike artists over-and-over again? In comparison, The Grammys actually appear to be at least trying to think outside the box.

Let’s hope the Chance’s and Ballerini’s of music win this year. If Beyonce, who’s now the most nominated artist in Grammy history, predictably wins a half dozen statues this year, they might as well hold the show in Jay Z’s office.

Check out the major nominees below.

Album Of The Year:

25 — Adele
Lemonade — Beyoncé
Purpose — Justin Bieber
Views — Drake
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson

Record Of The Year:

“Hello” — Adele
“Formation” — Beyoncé
“7 Years” — Lukas Graham
“Work” — Rihanna Featuring Drake
“Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots

Song Of The Year:

“Formation” — Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles & Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé)
“Hello” — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)
“I Took A Pill In Ibiza” — Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)
“Love Yourself” — Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)
“7 Years” — Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard & Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)

Best New Artist:

Kelsea Ballerini
The Chainsmokers
Chance The Rapper
Maren Morris
Anderson .Paak

Best Pop Vocal Album:

25 — Adele
Purpose — Justin Bieber
Dangerous Woman — Ariana Grande
Confident — Demi Lovato
This Is Acting — Sia

Best Pop Solo Performance:

“Hello” — Adele
“Hold Up” — Beyonce
“Love Yourself” — Justin Bieber
“Piece By Piece (Idol Version)” — Kelly Clarkson
“Dangerous Woman” — Ariana Grande

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:

“Closer” — The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey
“7 Years” — Lukas Graham
“Work” — Rihanna Featuring Drake
“Cheap Thrills” — Sia Featuring Sean Paul
“Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album:

Cinema — Andrea Bocelli
Fallen Angels — Bob Dylan
Stages Live — Josh Groban
Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin — Willie Nelson
Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway — Barbra Streisand

Best Dance Recording:

“Tearing Me Up” — Bob Moses
“Don’t Let Me Down” — The Chainsmokers Featuring Daya
“Never Be Like You” — Flume Featuring Kai
“Rinse & Repeat” — Riton Featuring Kah-Lo
“Drinkee” — Sofi Tukker

Best Dance/Electronic Album:

Skin — Flume
Electronica 1: The Time Machine — Jean-Michel Jarre
Epoch — Tycho
Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future — Underworld
Louie Vega Starring…XXVIII — Louie Vega

Best Rock Performance:

“Joe (Live From Austin City Limits)” — Alabama Shakes
“Don’t Hurt Yourself” — Beyoncé Featuring Jack White
“Blackstar” — David Bowie
“The Sound Of Silence” — Disturbed
“Heathens” — Twenty One Pilots

Best Metal Performance:

“Shock Me” — Baroness
“Slivera” — Gojira
“Rotting in Vain” — Korn
“Dystopia” — Megadeth
“The Price Is Wrong” — Periphery

Best Rock Song:

“Blackstar” — David Bowie, songwriter (David Bowie)
“Burn the Witch” —Radiohead, songwriters (Radiohead)
“Hardwired” — James Hetfield & Lars Ulrich, songwriters (Metallica
“Heathens” — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots)
“My Name Is Human” — Rich Meyer, Ryan Meyer & Johnny Stevens, songwriters (Highly Suspect)

Best Rock Album:

California — Blink-182
Tell Me I’m Pretty — Cage The Elephant
Magma — Gojira
Death Of A Bachelor — Panic! At The Disco
Weezer — Weezer

Best Alternative Music Album:

22, A Million — Bon Iver
Blackstar — David Bowie
The Hope Six Demolition Project — PJ Harvey
Post Pop Depression — Iggy Pop
A Moon Shaped Pool — Radiohead

Best R&B Performance:

“Turnin’ Me Up” — BJ The Chicago Kid
“Permission” — Ro James
“I Do” — Musiq Soulchild
“Needed Me” — Rihanna
“Cranes in the Sky” — Solange

Best Traditional R&B Performance:

“The Three Of Me” — William Bell
“Woman’s World” — BJ The Chicago Kid
“Sleeping With The One I Love” — Fantasia
“Angel” — Lalah Hathaway
“Can’t Wait” — Jill Scott

Best R&B Song:

“Come and See Me” — J. Brathwaite, Aubrey Graham & Noah Shebib, songwriters (PartyNextDoor Featuring Drake)
“Exchange” — Michael Hernandez & Bryson Tiller, songwriters (Bryson Tiller)
“Kiss It Better” — Jeff Bhasker, Robyn Fenty, John-Nathan Glass & Natalia Noemi, songwriters (Rihanna)
“Lake By the Ocean” — Hod David & Musze, songwriters (Maxwell)
“Luv” — Magnus August Høiberg, Benjamin Levin & Daystar Peterson, songwriters (Tory Lanez)

Best Urban Contemporary Album:

Lemonade — Beyoncé
Ology — Gallant
We Are King — KING
Malibu — Anderson .Paak
Anti — Rihanna

Best R&B Album:

In My Mind — BJ The Chicago Kid
Lalah Hathaway Live — Lalah Hathaway
Velvet Portraits — Terrace Martin
Healing Season — Mint Condition
Smoove Jones — Mya

Best Rap Performance:

“No Problem” — Chance The Rapper Featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz
“Panda” —Desiigner
“Pop Style” — Drake Featuring The Throne
“All The Way Up” — Fat Joe & Remy Ma Featuring French Montana & Infared
“That Part” — ScHoolboy Q Featuring Kanye West

Best Rap/Sung Performance:

“Freedom” — Beyoncé Featuring Kendrick Lamar
“Hotline Bling” — Drake
“Broccoli” — D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty
“Ultralight Beam” — Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream
“Famous” — Kanye West Featuring Rihanna

Best Rap Song:

“All The Way Up” — Joseph Cartagena, Edward Davadi, Shandel Green, Karim Kharbouch, Andre Christopher Lyon, Reminisce Mackie & Marcello Valenzano, songwriters (Fat Joe & Remy Ma Featuring French Montana & Infared)
“Famous” — Chancelor Bennett, Ross Birchard, Ernest Brown, Andrew Dawson, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Noah Goldstein, Kejuan Muchita, Patrick Reynolds, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West Featuring Rihanna)
“Hotline Bling” — Aubrey Graham & Paul Jefferies, songwriters (Drake)
“No Problem” — Chancelor Bennett, Dwayne Carter & Tauheed Epps, songwriters (Chance The Rapper Featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)
“Ultralight Beam” — Chancelor Bennett, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Kirk Franklin, Noah Goldstein, Samuel Griesemer, Terius Nash, Jerome Potter, Kelly Price, Nico “Donnie Trumpet” Segal, Derek Watkins, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream)

Best Rap Album:

Coloring Book — Chance The Rapper
And the Anonymous Nobody — De La Soul
Major Key — DJ Khaled
Views — Drake
Blank Face LP — ScHoolboy Q
The Life of Pablo — Kanye West

Best Country Solo Performance:

“Love Can Go To Hell” — Brandy Clark
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert
“My Church” — Maren Morris
“Church Bells” — Carrie Underwood
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Keith Urban

Best Country Duo/Group Performance:

“Different for Girls” — Dierks Bentley Featuring Elle King
“21 Summer” — Brothers Osborne
“Setting The World On Fire” — Kenny Chesney & P!nk
“Jolene” — Pentatonix Featuring Dolly Parton
“Think Of You” — Chris Young With Cassadee Pope

Best Country Song:

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey & Steven Lee Olsen, songwriters (Keith Urban)
“Die A Happy Man” — Sean Douglas, Thomas Rhett & Joe Spargur, songwriters (Thomas Rhett)
“Humble and Kind” — Lori McKenna, songwriter (Tim McGraw)
“My Church” — busbee & Maren Morris, songwriters (Maren Morris)
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

Best Country Album:

Big Day In A Small Town — Brandy Clark
Full Circle — Loretta Lynn
Hero — Maren Morris
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson
Ripcord — Keith Urban

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