Grammys Say Al Walser Did ‘Nothing Wrong’

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As we reported last week, the Grammys nominated an unknown producer in its Best Dance Recordings category.
After a lot of buzz and outrage online, the Grammys came out to explain that they pretty much “looked into it and found nothing wrong”.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Bill Freimuth, the Recording Academy’s Vice President of Awards said:
“The bottom line is that he played by the rules,” before adding: “He didn’t do anything untoward or against our rules in any way. It’s not a fraud, it’s not a hoax, as I’ve been hearing some people say. People voted for him, and he got a nomination as a result.”

Note that the video is now at 276,415 views, ah!

Read the interesting interview:

One of the theories that Walser has floated is that the Best Dance Recording category isn’t among the most popular within the Grammy nominating body, and therefore a significant number of votes weren’t required to be nominated.
I guess it’s possible, but I wouldn’t go with that. First of all, we don’t have any of the numbers and we don’t know them. They all go to straight to our accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche, and they are the ones who tabulate the ballots and have access to all sorts of statistics. We don’t ask them for them and they don’t tell us. Anything in that area is pure speculation.

But beyond that, I think the recent ascension of the dance music genre in the broader consciousness of the industry — including fans, of course — would lead me to believe that that’s not the case, and that a number of people probably voted in that category.

At what point did you realize fans and other artists were upset?
I think by late Thursday, if not early Friday, I had received quite a few emails from folks who weren’t terribly pleased.

And what did you make of that reaction?
Well, I guess I wasn’t too surprised. I’m not personally a deep follower of dance music, but I certainly recognized all the other names in that category. I suppose I raised an eyebrow a bit myself, and when I was hearing all this from everyone else, it confirmed my thoughts that this was not a regular, highly recognized member of that segment of the community.

So you were not personally familiar with Walser’s music before his nomination.
I was not.

Was there any investigation into the nomination?
We rely very heavily on Deloitte & Touche to do all kinds of investigations. They actually do quite a bit, once the ballots come in. They actually have these algorithms that they run that can ferret out block voting and other anomalies. They tell us that they end up disqualifying quite a few ballots every year on those bases. This one passed muster with them. We did double check with them on this one, and they said they had looked into it and found nothing wrong.

Do you find that Walser’s strategy — of networking and posting on Grammy365 — is an appropriate way to seek a nomination? Do you think artists should be seeking a nomination?
I think it’s becoming more normal. Especially because we have our own social networking site that’s for our members only, which has allowed people a different kind of access than they had before, because we never sell, rent or own our members contact information. I think in general, it’s something that has been very helpful to independent artists. If it’s a way that someone who has made a great recording can make our members aware of their recording, then that’s a really good thing. Some people are a little more impressive there than others, and I know that Al Walser was very, very active in promotion within Grammy365, which is that social networking site.

I think there’s a fine line there, and what it really comes down to is what the voters think of it. Evidently, there were enough voters who not only didn’t mind receiving communiques from Al, but also thought his music was worthy of their vote.

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