SSN Commentary

Finding the Music We Won’t Celebrate at the Grammys

Policy field

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The University of Texas at Arlington

Originally published as: David Arditi, "Finding the Music We Won’t Celebrate at the Grammys," Dallas Morning News, January 20, 2020.

When you watch the Grammys on Jan. 26, remember you’re not seeing a celebration of the best music of the past year, but instead the top music that corporate record labels want you to buy.

That music tends to skew overwhelmingly white and male, with racial and gender disparities baked into the nomination and voting processes. Those inequities have their roots in the major record label system, which plays a major role in what music reaches the public. For major record labels, “good” music means profitable music.