This Week In Music: Grammys Shadowed By Scandal, Leaving A Big Question On What’s Next

Deborah Dugan
Deborah Dugan AP Images

It’s finally time for the 62nd annual Grammy Awards, but what a time it’s been over the past few weeks, with the drama ramping up even more just before the show.

Music’s biggest night has turned into an embarrassment for the organization running it. This week saw more accusations from suspended CEO Deborah Dugan and an appearance on Good Morning America to air them; the barring of longtime Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer from performing on the show; the arrest of performer YG, the rapper scheduled to appear in a tribute to Nipsey Hussle; and the quiet dropout of Taylor Swift, who was scheduled to be a surprise performer but now reportedly shunning the show because of its sexism.

Here’s the thing – the worst is yet to come as the Dugan legal battle plays out. It raises the question: who would be crazy enough to take the Recording Academy head job once that matter is settled? If another reformer arrives, they will have to clean out the Board of Directors and many of the support staff, a war that Dugan lost. And if another music industry suit is put in place, it looks like the forces of stagnation have won.

As for the show itself, which purports to honor music’s best – will any artist address the controversy for the TV audience? It’s a quick path to attention, but also will create an enemies list among the people whose backing most artists need.

Billie Eilish and Lizzo have the most nominations and figure to dominate the top categories. Eilish will probably take home the majority, seeing as she’s part of the biggest music company and block voting usually rules.

This week in music:

KIM SHATTUCK BENEFIT:  A concert celebrating the life of the late Muffs frontwoman Kim Shattuck is set for March 15th at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. Shattuck died late last year from ALS, but not before finishing her final album with help from her friends. The concert will include performances by Redd Kross, Vicki Peterson, Kathy Valentine, Rob Zabrecky, Veruca Salt, That Dog (and friends), The Pandoras, Kay Hanley, and honeychain, along with a debut performance by newly formed all-female punk supergroup The Coolies, Shattuck’s last band.  Tickets for the benefit concert went on sale on Friday and all proceeds will be donated to The ALS Association Golden West Chapter. They can be purchased through the El Rey website.

GOODBYE, HUEY:  Grammy-winner Huey Lewis says his upcoming album, “Weather,” is likely his last.
Lewis, the frontman for Huey Lewis and The News (“The Power of Love,” “If This Is It,” and “The Heart of Rock & Roll”), has Meniere’s Disease and has suffered hearing loss and distortion.

NO SOUNDSET FEST: Scratch another big festival from the growing list of those squeezed out of the market. Minneapolis’s Sounset has been called off for 2020. Organizers at Minneapolis-based Rhymesayers Entertainment plan to focus on their 25th anniversary celebration later this year.Attendance slipped to around 25,000 at last year’s Soundset, with a lineup featuring Lil Wayne, Run the Jewels, G-Eazy and SZA and dozens more rap acts and DJs.

TIKTOK ON THE MOVE: The popular video-sharing social media network is moving into a new five floor, 120,000-square foot office in Culver City. A TikTok content-creation studio will also be completed by the summer of 2020 and the office is also dog-friendly.A Bloomberg news report indicates TikTok is currently recruiting for a US-based CEO to ‘oversee TikTok’s advertising business. TikTok’s US operations are currently overseen by Vanessa Pappas, General Manager, TikTok US, but Bloomberg writes that the exec’s role won’t be impacted by the new hire.


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