Monday, March 30, 2009

the Juno Awards Have Become a National Embarrassment

Someone really has to do something about the Junos. It is horrifying to think that anyone, anywhere, even for a moment think that they represent the best Canada has to offer musically. They don't. The Junos are not really Canadian and they are more about marketing and distribution networks than they are about music.

Once a year the most industrial side of the American recording industry's representatives in Canada get together and give awards to the people their marketing departments did the best job of pushing on people who don't know much about music. Scrolling down the list of nominees you notice two things. First alot of corporate sponsors and second the name of an American record label next to each artist - Universal, EMI, and Warner primarily. It is no coincidence that these are companies with the largest international distribution networks and the companies that spend the largest slice of their budgets on marketing. It is not surprising then that the Junos, most of which are decided by sales, are awarded to these companies. It is the exact equivelant of having culinary awards and saying the "Meat Dish of the Year Award goes to McDonalds for their new Bacon Double Cheeseburger." (It was the dish that sold the most, so obviously it was the best.) Personally I think the musicians should stay home and they should just give the awards to the marketing departments behind them - that is who the awards are really for anyway.

Some awards, it is true, are not decided by sales. Awards that are based on a vote are voted on by members of Caras and a membership in Caras is $52. So if you have the money you and your family and your friends, all of your co-workers and your cat can be voting members of Caras.

I won't even get into who won what, all but a few of them are nauseating and there is no reason to bring them up again. I will, before closing, mention what must be the quote of the night from Tim Fletcher of the Stills who, despite three critically acclaimed albums going back 6 years won Best New Group of the Year Sponsored by Factor and Canada's Private Radio Broadcasters. Fletcher apparently told CBC Radio 3 "I'm going to put my Juno on top of the magazines beside my toilet." Personally I can't think of a much better use for a Juno than as a bathroom paperweight - unless you can find a way to turn it into a toilet paper dispenser.

Next year the Juno's will try to spread their illness to St. John's Newfoundland. Part of me hopes that Newfoundlanders will rise up in revolt and prevent the show, but someone must put a dent in them next year. I'm thinking of some kind of shadow awards that in some way reward people who deserve recognition and perhaps an organized boycott of those companies that choose to sponsor the Junos. Canada is the most musically talented country in the world and we need to stand up to the Junos and the impression they give - at home and abroad, that we are thin on talent and really care more about marketing campaigns anyway.

cross posted to

1 comment:

Victoria Westcott said...

If you think Canada should be embarrassed, check out Europe's version. When I lived in London for three years I enjoyed the silliness of it all, and my British friends always pointed out just how awful they really were.

It's great fun to watch though.
Thanks for the article, I enjoyed it!