Why being nominated for a Grammy (or not) can be more important than winning one

Jasmine Garsd Mar 12, 2021
Heard on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Bad Bunny is nominated in two Grammy categories this year. He's already won multiple Latin Grammys. Bridget Bennett/AFP via Getty Images

Why being nominated for a Grammy (or not) can be more important than winning one

Jasmine Garsd Mar 12, 2021
Heard on:
Bad Bunny is nominated in two Grammy categories this year. He's already won multiple Latin Grammys. Bridget Bennett/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The 63rd Grammy Awards ceremony will be held Sunday. The Grammys have long been controversial, starting with who gets nominated and who doesn’t. This year, yet again, high-profile musicians are calling out the awards show, and for many reasons. 

Some artists, including singer Halsey, have said the competition is rigged. Others, like Drake, have said the Grammys are simply obsolete.

Still, winning one is important for both sales and visibility.   

This year, accusations about the Grammys being unfair are being led by singer the Weeknd. His single “Blinding Lights” has been ubiquitous. It’s from the album “After Hours,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Yet he received no Grammy nominations.  

The Weeknd holds Grammy trophies he received in 2016. He received no nominations this year and has criticized the awards process as unfair.
The Weeknd holds Grammy trophies he received in 2016. He received no nominations this year and has criticized the awards process as unfair. (Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

Enrique Gonzalez Muller, who teaches production and engineering at Berklee College of Music, is a Latin Grammy recipient and participates in the awards vote every year. He stands by the Grammy process, saying winning represents a certain kind of recognition.  

“It’s not the diversity award, it’s not the technology award, it’s not the popularity award. It’s the quality awards,” Muller said.

But the Grammys have long been accused of not being diverse enough. This year, the album of the year nominees are mostly white. And several nominees for best children’s music album have withdrawn, protesting the lack of diversity in the category.

“They are very aware that this is an issue. And they’ve taken a lot of steps to try to get a much more representative and diverse voting body,” said Melinda Newman, an executive editor at Billboard magazine.

But for all the criticism of the Grammys, a lot of artists sing and rap about their importance.

And as Muller said, much like an Oscar, a Grammy nomination is about recognition, which brings more opportunities. Even for an established artist. 

Take Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, also known as El Conejo Malo. He’s nominated in two categories this year. 

But he already has two Latin Grammys, recorded Billboard’s first Spanish-language No. 1 album and been on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Even so, according to Newman, a Grammy would get him new fans. “Ideally, someone like Bad Bunny gets in front of an audience and delivers a killer performance, which of course he would, and he’s immediately going to see a spike in streams, whether he wins or not.”

More streams mean more money and even more opportunities. 

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.