Brit Awards Conspiracy?

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Lily Allen, the up-and-coming reggae-pop singer whose recent show at the Great American in San Francisco I thoroughly enjoyed (and, full disclosure, DJed before), was snubbed at the Brit Awards last night in London. Turns out she had predicted in advance that she wouldn’t win a single trophy and blamed record industry politics, telling MTV UK that because the voting juries were made up of “industry insiders… predominantly from Universal,” she wouldn’t win, since she’s on EMI. Music blog Stereogum did some math and added up how many of the Brit awards went to Universal artists: a somewhat eyebrow-raising 61%. Hmmm.

So of course one can’t help but wonder: any conspiracies back here in the States at the recent Grammys? Well, I did some math and added up basically all the pop and jazz categories, although I didn’t include the random gospel and Norteno stuff because I got tired. Out of the 56 categories I tallied, the results were:

  • Sony / BMG: 41% (23 awards)
  • Universal: 27% (15 awards)
  • Warner: 20% (11 awards)
  • Apparently unaffilliated independents (mostly random jazz stuff): 9% (5 awards)
  • EMI: 3% (2 awards)
  • Of course this kind of non-scientific study doesn’t take into account stuff like actual market share or number of nominees, but still… while Universal isn’t quite as dominant here in the US, EMI was almost completely shut out. Their two awards were kind of random as well: OK Go for Short Form Video, and Coldplay for Best Remix, which, come to think of it, really goes to Stuart Price whose recent work with Madonna might make that more of a Warner award anyway.

    It’s hard to imagine record labels actually going to the trouble to rig the Grammys, since most of the music-buying public basically ignores them. Although, shut my mouth, the Dixie Chicks have rocketed to #1 on both the album and singles charts on iTunes this week (with 8-month-old material), so clearly a highly-publicized Grammy rout can still affect sales. Well, who knows, and really, who cares: people will be instantly downloading free music from HyperMySpace on the World WiFi into their BrainPods in a couple years anyway.

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    is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

    Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

    And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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