Published Feb 23, 2011Last Sunday (February 21), record executive Steve Stoute expressed his anger at the Grammys via a full-page ad in the New York Times. In it, the exec chewed out the awards show for being "out of touch with contemporary popular culture," while ragging on Album of the Year winners Arcade Fire for not selling as many records as nominees like Eminem or Kanye West.
While Arcade Fire's manager, Scott Rodger, didn't have to respond to Stoute's case of sour grapes, he has issued a rebuttal in the form of a letter to music industry analyst Bob Lefsetz.
"Arcade Fire deserved the win this year," Rodger writes. "They made the best album. If the award was names 'Album Sales of the Year' award, there would be no discussion."
Another of Stoute's critiques was that it seemed fishy that Arcade Fire played last, suggesting they were scheduled as such because they knew they were going to win the award. And that's also why they got to play a second song. Rodger says this isn't so.
"Arcade Fire had the final slot on the Grammys as the ratings are low at the end of the broadcast. It really is that simple. We were one of the least known acts on the bill for a network audience. Don't you think I wanted a better slot for the band?" he explains. "The reason we got a second song was also simple. No big plot. We had no guarantee of air time, but it was simply to play out the end credits of the show."
Rodger goes on to say that much of the performance was cut for time in international broadcasts of the Grammys. He also points to Kanye West's congratulatory tweets to the group as a measure of respect between the artists, rejecting the idea that his band is a gang of unknowns. Who Is Arcade Fire? be damned, the group have made it big.
"Arcade Fire are now one of the biggest live acts in the world," he concludes. "It's not all about record sales."
You can see the whole letter below. Thanks to Brooklyn Vegan for the tip.
Arcade Fire had the final slot on the Grammys as the ratings are low at the end of the broadcast. It really is that simple. We were one of the least known acts on the bill for a network audience. Don't you think I wanted a better slot for the band?
The reason we got a second song was also simple. No big plot. We had no guarantee of air time, but it was simply to play out the end credits of the show, if we're even had that much. The show never runs like clockwork to an exact time so the end is always loose. As it happened, the broadcast was covered by sponsors messages and the end credits.
For the Grammys international broadcast our main performance, along with that of Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers was completely cut from the show. Our end title performance was bastardised because they cut out ads/sponsor messages completely. It was a bit of a farce. You'd think we'd be given a little more after the fact.
Arcade Fire deserved the win this year. They made the best album. If the award was names "Album Sales Of The Year" award, there would be no discussion. Stoutes letter was nice piece of self publicity. Did he see Kanye's tweets when we won and the praise he gave us?? He needs to tune in. Eminem made a big selling album but it was far from being his best work. Katy Perry made a big pop record that simply didn't have weight or credibility. Gaga's repackage, great album but it was a repackage of the main release. I think everyone felt it was going to be Lady Antebellum's moment having won 5 out of 6 awards to that point. We all felt that way too.
I'm proud of this band and what they have achieved. We didn't lobby any organisation for this nor did the band play the game. We paid our own overhead to do the event, thus the lack of on stage gimmicks. No label picked up the tab.
Arcade Fire are now one of the biggest live acts in the world. It's not all about record sales. It's about making great records and it's about building a loyal fan base. Ther band make great albums, they're not a radio driven singles band. On top of that, they own their own masters and copyrights and are in complete control of their own destiny. Things couldn't be better.
Excuse any typos as I'm on my blackberry