Why did Justin Bieber get snubbed by the Grammys? Was Scooter Braun right to slam them?
—So Stupid Goodbye, via Twitter
Bieb manager Braun's rant against the Recording Academy—and hey, you stay classy, Scooter—is neither right nor wrong, because the Grammy nominations are neither right nor wrong. They're not based on sales or other measures of popularity, but rather the nebulous quality of "artistic merit." Does Bieber have more "artistic merit" than, say, LMFAO, which did get a nom this year?
Maybe, maybe not. But there are other factors in play, too—including stuff that's beyond Bieber's control.
"In the past, the voting demographic has been, in general, older, white and male," Billboard's Keith Caulfield tells me. And, while the organization has been making an effort to diversify, it's pretty much assumed that the voting body hasn't changed all that much.
When you combine that fact with another—that Bieber tends to appeal to young women—you begin to see the challenge. Mad swag doesn't always translate into awards in such cases.
You should also know that—with some notable exceptions—Grammy tends to make younger artists wait quite a while, as in, years and years, for their first trophies. Even though he landed a couple of nominations two years ago, Justin's still light on little golden gramophones.
Yes, I know what you're thinking: Adele. She's young, and she's a woman, and she's won 8 Grammys. Well, I can explain.
"She appeals to everyone, from 8 to 80"—including the types of people who vote for Grammys, Caulfield tells me. "It's the only way she could have sold 10 million copies of a single album in the U.S."
All that said, let's remember Bieber is one of the most popular musicians in the country. He's sold 15 million albums and has more than 30 million Twitter followers. He has a higher Klout score than Barack Obama or the Dalai Lama.
Does he really have all that much to complain about?