Why award shows don't matter (and why this matters to you)

AJ Valcin

Like any productive college student, I was going through my Twitter feed one morning when I read this from my fellow Unionite, Harry Smith (better known as “HarryDaHero”).

I silently agreed as I continued scrolling. A few seconds later, however, I had to pause and think about the Video Music Awards (VMAs) that had happened the night before, as well as all related events that recognize the achievements of musicians and bands in the industry.

Whether it’s by fans or committees, a general consensus is made on who is worthy of these sought-after trophies. Acquiring these awards, or even being nominated for them, is a huge boost to a musician's credentials as they look to build off of their successes and aspirations.

That being said, these award shows (embellished by key live performances) mostly pass out achievements to the top percenters of the music industry. This creates a vicious cycle of blowing up triple platinum artists with simultaneous suppression of the underground and independent music acts. There is a network-based formula for reaching and staying at the top of the music world that only feeds these top percenters, while the rest of the world population is starved of a vast amount of untapped talent.

The opinion-based, Democratic-style voting process for "Best Male Artist" or "Best Female Singer/Songwriter" is exactly what its name implies: opinion-based. From Harry to Dr. Holdsworth, whether we are a Grammy committee member or just a regular college student, we as humans are capable of independent thought. We create our own opinions based on different musical preferences.

So is the problem with award shows our mere opinions?

Absolutely not.

Put the opinions and facts together, and it is clearly seen that there is more to be desired. Awards, accolades, and shiny acts by artists are hardly a smidge on the tip of the iceberg that we as music enthusiasts tend to stay on. As I recently heard in a chapel message by local pastor Cedric Belcher, "Stretch."

Stretch your musical preferences to the up-and-coming. For in all honesty, these are typically the most authentic individuals in all the industry.

AJ is a senior studying communication.