The Grammys were handed out Sunday night and, well, that’s the end of the headline.
As an entertainment reporter, I have to watch awards shows and much like you I don’t care about them anymore either.
When I started covering Hollywood events in 2010, the industry was different. It was surreal to be a kid from Manitoba hobnobbing with celebrities in California, yet there I was. It soon lost its lustre. The novelty wore off around the time social media, live tweeting and bloggers arrived on the scene.
There was something exclusive about flying to Los Angeles and getting a press pass to walk the red carpet and host a broadcast from it. To get invited meant you had journalistic credibility. It wasn’t a matter of how many followers you had because, well, that wasn’t a “thing” then.
Once blogs and YouTube allowed anybody and everybody to be a writer and broadcaster respectively, the floodgates opened and gone was the need for any form of reporting or journalistic experience.
At the 2019 American Music Awards, I was alongside a row of bloggers and YouTubers, downgraded from my position amongst national and TV radio outlets. I was on the secondary, or “digital”, red carpet. On a night when the likes of Keith Urban, Justin Bieber, Pink were set to appear, I was on the other side of the red carpet “wall” that TV viewers never saw.
The “stars” that I got to interview were — you guessed it — YouTubers and bloggers. It was humiliating to have top 40 radio stations waiting for my soundbites and interviews with top 40 artists only to have brief segments with Asher Angel, Nick Dean and Alisa Marie. Exactly: Who? (I recall talking with them but had to look up their names in our audio archives just now.)
There are many theories about why viewers are tuning out from awards shows. One belief is that there are so many nominees and “celebrities” people haven’t heard of that it’s not fun to watch people win when you don’t know their work. Nominees aren’t household names because there’s too much content to consume nowadays and too many platforms to consume it.
Remember when you’d talk with co-workers about a movie you saw last weekend or the show you were addicted to? Now it’s likely they’ve never heard of what you’re talking about. Sure, there are mainstream movies and shows but how many times at the Emmys or Oscars did someone win and you thought, “Never heard of them/it”?
Just as anybody with a cameraphone can be a red carpet reporter, now anybody with a decent camera can make a movie. When both crafts – broadcasting and filmmaking — were once held in high regard because they weren’t something that “just anybody” could do, the playing field has opened and each craft seems to have been cheapened because of the accessibility.
It’s great that more people have a voice, in both arenas, however it’s too bad there are so many voices because it’s increasingly difficult to share the dramatically thinning audiences.