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Album of the Year

Posted on 2 April 2012

Last night, the Junos, ostensibly the Canadian version of the Grammy, took place. And as an advocate for the great music this country has I have to weigh in on Michael Buble’s win. For a Christmas album.

There’s a lot of headscratching going on over this one for those who don’t follow the ins and outs of these awards, but unfortunately plenty of others saw this coming. Laura Kane, writing for the Tyee, explains:

“Sell a lot of records.

That is, if you want to be nominated for Album of the Year or International Album of the Year. Those categories are entirely determined by sales figures. This explains why so many albums featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer keep making the cut.”

That’s it. Unlike most other music awards, which are based on a combination of sales and artistry (to varying effectiveness), the “Album of the Year” award goes to… whoever sells the most.

Which is fine. You could argue that whatever sells the most SHOULD be album of the year. But I really wish the awards would be more upfront about it, instead of making out like it’s some big surprise, after tabulating votes of judges and critics really weighing whether Bieber’s of Buble’s version of “White Chrismas” more effectively pushed our idea of what “art” could be. Because to an outside observer, be they in Canada or abroad, it’s all too easy to look and scoff “Canadian music? The best they can do is Buble crooning Christmas tunes,” and then ignore all the great, unheralded stuff coming out. It’s a detriment to the entire Canadian music scene, because it gives those not already converted to the greatness of it to just continue ignoring it.

Filed under: Canada, music

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