And The Winner Is…

When it actually promotes Canadian music at root levels, and it isn’t kind of this weekend when the Canadian music industry pretends that it’s this independent industry and not just marketing warehouses for the United States, then sure, I’ll be a part of it

Matthew Good

An article was passed along to me today concerning this year’s Juno Awards.  Matt Good, who is usually aprickly pear about everything, has come out and bashed the awrds show as being too commercial and mainstream.  He also believes that the Junos fail to promote the roots of Canadian music because many of the awards are based on sales.  One of the big tenets of the Polaris Music Prize is that it is judged on artistic merit and not sales. So conceivably an album that sells 10 copies has an equal chance against one that sells 1 million.  Now in practice the Polaris has taken some heat for failing to truly reward the best albums at times.  Now Matt Good has been known to complain about many things and he is apparently difficult to work with.  So hearing him belittle the Juno Awards is not surprising in the least.

I have to admit that I never watch awards shows.  I find them very boring, and since the outcome is the often the result of a subjective vote, I feel that victory really only represents popularity.  I do realize that some awards are very important to people.  As for the Junos, I do like the idea of the Junofest that surrounds the awards show. As the article points out, over 100 Canadian bands will perform over the course of the weekend.  If that helps the popularity of lesser known bands (Laura Smith is actually one of them) then I am all for it. I suppose in the end that the Junos are a tiny distraction that some people will watch, and most of those people will like the acts that win.

We can complain all we want that bands like Nickleback sell a lot of records but the fact is they do.  People like it.  I once watched a documentary about the man who was responsible for creating the playlists that dominate pop radio.  A lot of old DJs despise him because he “ruined” radio by denying emerging artists a place.  He points out that he just plays what people want to hear.  I personally support having new and unknown music, provided it is of high quality, on my stereo.  I also acknowledge that my tastes may not always merge with the majority, and since music is a commercial industry, I have to accept that reality. As a final thought I want to leave this question: if the Beatles were emerging today (assuming they achieve the same level of popularity) would we decry them as “everything that is wrong with popular music” because they creat sounds that are loved by the masses?

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2 Responses to “And The Winner Is…”

  1. shankus Says:

    Nice post.
    Well I dont really have a straight answer to your question. It’s not whats wrong with popular music it’s the type of music thats promoted these days any teen princess with a rich family member can step into a recording booth and pump out a hit single. She might not have a musical note in her body but technology makes it happen. Today all you need is a pretty face, money, and a catchy hook to top the charts.

    Im not a nickleback fan but at least they play instruments I guess…

    • ponpilate Says:

      Thanks for the comment. I definitely agree about the technology angle in music. It’s amazing what can happen in a studio, especially if you can afford to hire the best people.
      The teen princess phenomenon is part of the trend towards valuing level of fame over actual ability. It’s been building and building for a long time, and the current level of up-to-the-minute communication means that fame is intensely pervasive. Celebrity culture seems to greatly appeal to people, for one reason or another, and I guess we will have to tolerate it until it dies out.

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