Record of the Year. Song of the Year. Best New Artist. Even Best Spoken Word or Comedy. These are Grammy categories worthy of recognition because, at least in some respect, they are involved in the recording process. We listen to the stuff made by people involved in these projects and then, sometimes, these people are rewarded for their efforts with a shiny gold statue. And at least for a few people who like music, the bloated self-aggrandizing ritual of who gets a Grammy is still important. All in all, a pretty good system.
Sometimes, when the Grammys want to honor someone who was working behind the scenes of music production, they’ll award them a Trustees Award. For those not in the know, the Recording Academy describes the Trustee Award as a prize reserved for “individuals who, during their careers in music, have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording.” Careers in music. Producers, studio musicians, these are people I think of when I contemplate this award. Good to recognize their contributions, I suppose. Adds some relevance to the Grammys. Gotcha.
Apparently uncomfortable with the Grammys’ currently sclerotic state, the Recording Academy will attempt to liven things up for the forth-coming awards show albeit poorly and confusingly. This year’s award ceremony, which is scheduled to come vomiting out of your TV screen on February 11, 2012, will blur the distinction of exactly what is considered “significant contributions to the field of recording” music because they’re posthumously awarding the Trustees Award to the Pope of Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs.
As former CEO and co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs helped create products and technology that transformed the way we consume music, TV, movies, and books. A creative visionary, Jobs’ innovations such as the iPod and its counterpart, the online iTunes store, revolutionized the industry and how music was distributed and purchased. In 2002 Apple Computer Inc. was a recipient of a Technical GRAMMY Award for contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field. The company continues to lead the way with new technology and in-demand products such as the iPhone and iPad.
I’m still confused. So because he introduced a popular device that is used to listen to music or spoken word whatevers he gets a Grammy? Did Andreas Pavel, the man who gave us the Walkman, get a Grammy for his revolutionary contribution to making music portable? You get two seconds to guess. Time’s up. Answer: No.
Awarding a lukewarm Grammy to Steve Jobs is shameless and opportunistic. If they really wanted to give him an award with any meaning, the Recording Academy could’ve done this after everybody realized the iPod was a pretty big deal. Like, five or six years ago. They shouldn’t even be giving him an award at all, but that’s beside the point. But whatever – it’s the Grammys’ show and they’ll cry if they want to. However, since the Grammys are bending their rules for Saint Jobs to receive an award, maybe his iGrammy will look a little like this.