Arcade Fire manager responds to record exec’s Grammy slam
by Jessica Lewis
February 24, 2011
It’s been almost two weeks since Arcade Fire won the Grammy for Album of the Year. In that time, they’ve upset people on the internet, been introduced to everyone else by hipsters and have won other similar awards. Adding to the heat was enraged record executive and ad man Steve Stoute, who penned an open letter in Sunday’s The New York Times as a full-page ad, slamming the Grammys for losing touch with popular culture.
Stoute made a point in the letter questioning Arcade Fire, saying “What truly inspired the writing of this letter was that this most recent show fed my suspicions. As the show was coming to a close and just prior to presenting the award for Album Of The Year, the band Arcade Fire performed ‘Month of May’ — only to… surprise… win the category and, in a moment of sheer coincidence, happened to be prepared to perform ‘Ready to Start.’
Now Arcade Fire’s manager Scott Rodger has taken the hot matters into his own hands. He wrote his own open letter, sent it to music industry blogger Bob Lefsetz and now we read and deliberate.
Arcade Fire had the final slot on the Grammys as the ratings are low at the end of the broadcast. It really is that simple. We were one of the least known acts on the bill for a network audience. Don’t you think I wanted a better slot for the band?
The reason we got a second song was also simple. No big plot. We had no guarantee of air time, but it was simply to play out the end credits of the show, if we’re even had that much. The show never runs like clockwork to an exact time so the end is always loose. As it happened, the broadcast was covered by sponsors messages and the end credits.
For the Grammys international broadcast our main performance, along with that of Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers was completely cut from the show. Our end title performance was bastardised because they cut out ads/sponsor messages completely. It was a bit of a farce. You’d think we’d be given a little more after the fact.
Arcade Fire deserved the win this year. They made the best album. If the award was names “Album Sales Of The Year” award, there would be no discussion. Stoutes letter was nice piece of self publicity. Did he see Kanye’s tweets when we won and the praise he gave us?? He needs to tune in. Eminem made a big selling album but it was far from being his best work. Katy Perry made a big pop record that simply didn’t have weight or credibility. Gaga’s repackage, great album but it was a repackage of the main release. I think everyone felt it was going to be Lady Antebellum’s moment having won 5 out of 6 awards to that point. We all felt that way too.
I’m proud of this band and what they have achieved. We didn’t lobby any organisation for this nor did the band play the game. We paid our own overhead to do the event, thus the lack of on stage gimmicks. No label picked up the tab.
Arcade Fire are now one of the biggest live acts in the world. It’s not all about record sales. It’s about making great records and it’s about building a loyal fan base. Ther band make great albums, they’re not a radio driven singles band. On top of that, they own their own masters and copyrights and are in complete control of their own destiny. Things couldn’t be better.
Excuse any typos as I’m on my blackberry