Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Grammys (Stupidly) Pull Videos

Hey! Check out this awesome performance from last Sunday's Grammys of (a nine month pregnant!) M.I.A. with Kanye West, Jay-Z, T.I. and Lil Wayne performing "Paper Planes"/"Swagger Like Us"...

... oh. Sorry, that video is no longer available, much like every other Grammy performance uploaded to YouTube, which were pulled not even 24 hours after the show. And I cannot seem to figure out why.

The Grammys are irrelevant - we know that. Their ratings pale in comparison to what American Idol draws in. Despite this, the Grammys actually had an opportunity in 2009 to matter.

I caught only the beginning of the show's live telecast. No disrespect to Clive Davis - I could not help but feel a little bit of contempt watching him smile for his extended standing ovation. I was watching the clueless representatives of a dying industry take a moment to pat themselves on the back - and for what? Davis is a legend - but with the mass layoffs happening, record companies are working hard to ensure that there will not be another Clive.

My contempt aside, a funny thing did happen on Monday - friends and bloggers were talking about performances with a kind of "you gotta see this"-ness (reserved largely for Radiohead with the USC Marching Band) in much the same way we talk about Super Bowl commercials in the days that follow. This presented the Grammys (and the major labels) with an amazing opportunity - to continue the event's significance beyond the constraints of the show's live telecast.

In my opinion, the "Swagger Like Us" performance was legendary. It opened with M.I.A. performing "Paper Planes" (a song which I never expected to become so massive) then turned into a performance of a song that samples that. I know the four MCs of the "Rap Pack" are friendly, but seeing them perform that song together felt like a one-off deal. Furthermore, that performance represented what music is today in 2009. Why should it not be allowed to spread and be discussed and have its legend cemented?

Furthermore, Grammy awards and performances always produce a spike in the sales of the showcased artists. By allowing the content to be further spread, wouldn't an even more significant sales spike be likely? Couldn't this industry use a few extra sales right now? Also, allowing these videos to remain on YouTube and wherever else could - gasp - promote the Grammys as an event people would actually want to watch!

Some of my favorite bloggers produced some great (and often hilarious) commentary on the Grammys. Check it out at Bad Tempered Zombie and Passion of the Weiss.


Allison said...

I was Facebooking during the Grammys, which kind of like liveblogging, I guess. Stereogum had an interesting Grammy post as well.

Was it on NBC? Perhaps that's why the clips were pulled...either way, sad.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It really is perplexing, isn't it? It's like the Grammys have got their head so far up their own ass that they can't even recognise opportunities to become relevant.