The 47th Annual Grammies Awards, which took



The 47ThursdayAnnual Grammy Awards, which took topographic point in Los Angeles on the February 13th, 2005, was an international media event reported all over the universe. Although broadcast live on US telecasting since 1971, could this year’s presentation be said to differ from the format of old old ages in its narrative construction, in the function of the telecasting audience and in how deictic characteristics of temporal and spacial individualities were portrayed? In this essay I will analyze the above and argue that globalisation and technological alterations within the music industry, and the agencies by which music is now marketed are set uping non merely the manner that the Grammy Awards are structured, but how, in bend, these alterations in construction represent a thrust towards multiculturalism as a market, exemplified by audience-driven activity and engagement in an progressively internet-based, ‘download’ economic system.


Traditionally, the Grammy Awards focused on mainstream, American music.Established by The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1957, the Awards reflected the industry’s acknowledgment of ‘contributions and activities of significance to the entering industry’ – a description meant to imply artistic and proficient ability over economic considerations, such as record gross revenues. (, 2005 ) . Yet despite a rank made up of 1000s of industry participants from applied scientists through to manufacturers, past Grammy events have been culturally limited in their range(it wasn’t until 1987 that an ( unshared ) Grammy was won by a non-US/Canadian performing artist, and non until 1991 that a class for ‘World Music’ was added ) , ( Taylor, 1997 ) . This year’s event explicitly addressed this, including more eclectic classs ( 107 in all ) , ‘niche’ and ‘ethnic’ markets, and concentrating on the world-wide success of ‘black’ American genres such as R & A ; B and Hip Hop.

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The widening of music classs for this year’s Grammies, overtly recognises developments in the information and communications engineerings as good of procedures of globalisation in the music industry itself, and has arguably led to a alteration in the narrative signifier of the event. Like most other Award shows, the telecasting broadcast of The Grammies normally focuses upon the receivers of honours and their addresss to the in-house audience instead than the viewing audiences watching on telecasting. With its huge figure of proficient classs, The Grammies could be said to be elitist, overlong and possibly a small dull for telecasting audiences. This traditional narrative construction seems to be losing favor in modern times and the 2005 Grammies reflected this. Concentrating alternatively on public presentation, cleavage and famous person, one could reason that like the music picture this ‘veritable profuseness of styles’ leads to a ‘waning in narrative’ ( Danley, 2000:103 ) . With most awards bestowed off-camera, The Grammies embraced a more planetary, MTV-type of unrecorded spectacle, break uping narrative by utilizing multiple presenters, minimising addresss and using the precision-pacing that now structures so many Television shows ‘in this age of the sawed-off attending span…’ ( Schechter, 1997:331 ) .


This switch to a focal point on unrecordedpublic presentationcan be explained by airing considerations, ( musical public presentations being possibly easier to time-manage than ad-lib addresss ) , but besides help vouch ‘the action traveling at a fast adequate gait to maintain you from flipping… ( channels ) ’(ibid). A new paradigm of ‘liveness’ was besides exemplified at The Grammies by the deictically inclusive linguistic communication of the performing artists and presenters, who repeatedly addressed the telecasting audience as if they excessively were present in the auditorium. This usage of the words ‘us’ and ‘we’ to include the viewing audience follows the tendency of the past few old ages, and could be said to underlie the publicity and presentation of the Annual Grammy Awards as apublic presentationand aculturally-inclusive eventinstead than an elitist ceremonial.

This altering paradigm of the telecasting audience being treated as both spatially and temporally present, has deductions for both media analysis and ingestion. Here the viewing audiences were treated as portion of a planetary ‘nation’ of music lovers, privileged plenty to be included. Why might this be?

One account is that this year’s Grammies offered new music: delivery together established industry names to make antecedently unrecorded couples ( Joss Stone and Melissa Etheridge, Usher and James Brown etc ) , ‘tributes’ and unrecorded public presentations by campaigners – all available for purchase of class. Whilst there have been Grammy record digests for some old ages now, the 47ThursdayAwards tied in with iMusic downloads of the vocals broadcast ( Universal Music Group, 2005 ) , every bit good as the freshly burgeoning industry of nomadic phone Ringtones [ 1 ] , proposing altering impressions of audience engagement in this event from what was traditionally seen as inactive ( or active in the sense of bring forthing their ain readings of a text ) , to something wholly more participatory in the digital age ( Burton, 2000 ) . This ‘myth of connectedness…where the viewers’ experience of observation, and the programmes events are happening at the same time’ ( Bignell, 2002:149 ) . can be said to change the temporal and spacial deictic.


The suggestion so, is that the audience would non merely be sing the event as a spectacle, but besides take parting as a consumer. This follows on from 20th century music selling, whose building of remote ‘rock stars’ ( whom the audience could merely place with via retrospective record gross revenues ) coincided with the creative activity of a new societal ‘usefulness’ of the record as amasstrade good ( Buxton, 1990:429 ) . The 47ThursdayGrammies inclusiveness can be seen as meaning new codifications of ‘enhanced use value’ in the recent engineerings of iPods, digital downloads and nomadic phones. One could so reason that the representation of more come-at-able, inclusiveand ethnically diversefamous person as evidenced by The 47ThursdayGrammies, is an illustration of how the music industry ‘…find ( s ) it advantageous to integrate new creative persons, manufacturers and manners of music in order to invariably reinvigorate the popular music market’ ( Devereux, 2003:36 ) .

Manufacturers OF Meaning

Another differentiation of this year’s Grammies, which marked it out as taking for a more culturally-united audience, was the inclusion of a planetary alleviation section. After the Boxing Day, 2004, temblor and tsunami that devastated South East Asia, the Awards featured creative persons executing a vocal in assistance of affected people and parts. While possibly trusting to reproduce the success of assistance telecasts such as‘Live Aid’ ,which motivated immense Numberss of viewing audiences to donate money ( Van Evra, 1990:100 ) , this illustration besides highlights the contradiction inherent in non merely the Grammies, but in ‘multicultural’ telecasting programming itself which ‘lags behind society…audiences are more cognizant of cultural diverseness and complexity…than media word pictures show or imply’ ( Parekh, 2000:168 ) . Although the motive for the testimonial may hold been worthy, one could reason that this word picture of poorer states continues a media tradition where ‘representation…is preponderantly negative and/or simplistic’ ( ibid ) . Although possibly trusting to pull a more culturally diverse audience, the Grammies arguably used the stereotypes of essentialist ‘black’ music ability and 3rd universe poorness as a ill-conceived agency of procuring this, ‘focusing on the superficial manifestations of culture’ while ‘…fail ( ing ) to turn to the go oning hierarchies of power’ ( Donald & A ; Ratlansi, 1992:2 ) .

This may disown sociological media theories which argue for television’s ‘producerly text’ ( one where the spectator interprets/produces intending ) , and supply grounds of a ‘preferred readings’ theory that suggests codifications and marks exist ‘in the manner a plan is put together’ ( Burton, 2000:215 ) , reflecting a hegemony which, in the instance of the music industry, could be said to be progressively globalized non merely in footings of merchandise, but concomitantly centralised in footings of ownership. Although I would non reason that The Grammy’s attempts to procure tsunami alleviation were needfully self-serving ( although what per centum of income from downloads of the vocal went straight to the alleviation attempt? ) , it’s inclusion has deductions for the sing audience in footings of recommending private over state-sponsored assistance, advancing a sense of planetary affinity and individuality, every bit good as arguably denoting both the music industry and the multinational media as portion of a cozy ‘global village’ . As Ien Ang points out: ‘…television ingestion is accompanied by the…promotion of ‘ideal’ or ‘proper’ signifiers of consumer behavior, propelled by either ideological or economic motives’ ( Ang, 1996:55 ) .

So who is bring forthing these significances? The Recording Academy pronounces itself ‘the voice of entering creative persons and professionals in national affairs’ ( ) and there can be no denying that its rank is made up of those working in the industry at every degree. But as Devereux notes: ‘the entering industry is an of import illustration of recent cultural globalization…dominated by a really little figure of multimedia conglomerates…’ ( Devereux, 2003:36 ) . This is of import because, as recorded music exports from the US doubled between 1987 and 1991, it became apparent that ‘the planetary market was increasing in importance relation to the domestic industry’ ( Herman & A ; McChesney, 1997:39 ) . So while an progressively ‘inclusive’ Grammies focuses on ‘niche’ markets, and multicultural individuality, this may in consequence have a commercial instead than an artistic motive and postmodern audiences may go cognizant of this. For all the significant alterations in format that augmented this year’s Awards, it was the 3rd worst evaluations mark for the Grammies since they were foremost televised. Despite the burden on famous person, the proposition of the telecasting audience as deictically present in the auditorium, the digital links and the‘Live Aid’atmosphere, unlike the 2004 Grammies, the audiences was wooed off in droves by the runaway success of ABC’sDesperate Housewifes, which it came up against in the screening agenda ( 7 Digital, 2004-5 ) .


The 47ThursdayAnnual Grammy Awards are declarative of planetary alterations in the technological, media and music industries. Where one time the Awards focused on the addresss of victors in a comparatively little figure of US music classs, in recent old ages the Grammies reflect the importance – both artistic and fiscal – of niche markets, universe music and the different formats that music is now available in. ‘Liveness’ is now articulated by in a performance-driven format, making original music available for immediate purchase via the new engineerings of the cyberspace, iMusic and nomadic phone Ringtones. This may hold changed the position of the inactive spectator to a more active spectator, but has it enabled the audience to retain their position as the manufacturers of the significance of the text? With planetary domination of the music industry by a little figure of multinational companies this seems improbable and this year’s Grammies represent how dominant political orientations can work to code the construction of such telecasting scheduling, making an image of universalism and pluralism that works to maximise the net incomes of the industry and media itself.

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