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Quality or Quantity?

9 Feb, 2006 By: Jessica Wolf

It did not come as a huge surprise to me Feb. 8 when Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment's Bob Dylan: No Direction Home won the Grammy for best long form video.

Dylan plus Scorsese plus the fact that it is a damn good documentary and chock full of performance footage of the musical icon made it a no-brainer.

And I was pleased to see Green Day and U2 honored, even got a little teary when Kelly Clarkson picked up her two statuettes. She's not quite my cup of tea, but I'm proud of her for managing to shed a bit of the “American Idol”-cheesiness that unfortunately far-too-accurately reflects the state of pop music.

But she also represents the thing about the Grammys that always gets to me. As much as I may agree with the winners, the whole process focuses far too heavily on the biggest commercial successes of the year.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for this recognition when it also represents what I consider quality music — like what Green Day and U2 wrought in 2005.

And while I am one of the hordes of people that supported these groups last year with my discretionary dollars, these two, and indeed all of the top Grammy grabbers combined don't even come close to scratching the surface of all the amazing music and bands I discovered, interacted with, spent money on or fell in love with last year.

If you hold the Grammy nominees up to the Academy Awards, I think you see that for film, the representation is far broader than the top-grossing movies of the day. It just seems like there is so much more opportunity for a smaller, truly critically deserving film or performance to be honored on the film side then on the music side.

Think of Sideways last year or Transamerica this year.

Then that recognition tends to lead to greater commercial success, on DVD or in theaters, instead of the opposite track, like it seems on the music side.

It grows the market for the life of product.

This year's best picture Academy Award roll doesn't have that really compares to last night's big Grammy winners like U2, Green Day, Mariah Carey and Kanye West.

I'm very much looking forward to see how some of these smaller, truly exceptional, non-box-office boffos perform as they hit DVD this year.

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