Grammy Wrap-Up – Americana Represents

Now that I’ve had a few days to recover from the whirlwind Grammy event in L.A. I ma going to try and make some sense of it all to determine what I saw and what I saw, what I learned and what I’d like to see changed.

2011 marked the third year that the GRAMMYs (branding, people) have organized a formal social media initiative to allow a bottom-up perspective, mostly-unvarnished perspective from bloggers that have established their own brand credibility in various genres. The cool thing is that it’s not just the major genres – pop , hip-hop and rock being asked to participate. Other pre-telecast awarded genres like my own Americana/folk participating were country (still a bridesmaid after all this time),  jazz , classical , soul , gospel were represented as well as social media strategy and fashion.

I believe the GRAMMYs are looking at the seismic changes in the music industry and are being proactive in addressing their own relevance and consumers changing relationship with music. I believe our efforts in coordination with GRAMMY.com ‘s wider social channels via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube led to a successful outcome I hope continues to grow and expand.

Case in point was the Social Media Summet. This was a Grammy-week event, which was open to the public and streamed live on the Grammy website, explored how the industry engages fans and consumers in sharing new music and what impact it has had on the business.
.  Held at the beautiful Conga Room the event former MTV News anchor John Norris hosted the panel which featured Facebook director of platform product marketing Ethan Beard, Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai and Pandora founder Tim Westergren as well as American Idol runner-up phenom Adam Lambert and rapper Chamillionaire won a Grammy in 2007 for his No. 1 song, “Ridin’ , which went on to become the top selling ringtone of that year with 3.2 million in sales, and the first to gross $1 million.

Quick take-aways from the panel were that social media is a double edged sword for muscians who want to make themselves available to their fans but are scrutinized by the media for any single misstep (“Don’t drunk tweet.” Advised Adam Lambert) and not all fans you hear from are, well, sane.

Lambert also said that while he loves when fans take pictures and recording video footage at his concerts, he feels like they’re cheating themselves by not being present at the moment of the experience. It’s like pre-mediation and self-inflicted removal from an experience thats most powerful attribute is immediacy.

Rapper Chamillionaire said he engages in social media because unlike the major labels “There’s not a suit standing there telling me I can’t do something. I stand or fall on my own action and my fans let me know what they think really fast.”

The panel bemoaned the demise of the record store and Ethan Beard  hoped that Facebook could take up some of the slack to connect fans to musicians. “Music is social activity … and buying music on iTunes is different than in CD stores,” Beard said. “(But) using social media makes it more social.”

I would like to see the Americana field get more cred for using social media to expand the fan-base and scout out touring destinations. And I defy anyone to find a more active community site that No Depression.

In the end I was glade to be asked to the party and able to witness the Best Americana Album GRAMMY awarded to Mavis Staples (her first !)  for You Are Not Alone, her collaboration with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, and see the Carolina Chocolate Drops claim the GRAMMY in the category of Best Traditional Folk Album for Genuine Negro Jig. Meeting Cajun-music legend D. L. Menard, Hank Williams’ daughter Jett and the fine people at Time -Life that helped her release the fantastic The Hank Williams Complete Mother Best Recordings….Plus! box set, Margaret and Arthur Warwick – proprietors of the legendary Louisiana Hayride.

Then there was that whole Avett, Mumford, Dylan thing..that was pretty cool as well.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HlUEnNMVaU[/youtube]

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