Lost in the Who The Fuck Is ARCADE FIRE haze during last week's Grammy's hangover was the odd accusation that somehow the Recording Academy knew The Suburbs was going to win Album of the Year, which is why the Canadian indie kids were asked to close out the awards show with not just one, but two performances, sandwiched around the announcement and acceptance speech.
Apparently the root of this theory was record exec Steve Stoute's ad in the New York Times and its backup from music biz watchdog Bob Lefsetz, who wrote: "Where was that segment where the two accountants come out on stage and say that the voting was confidential? Obviously NARAS knew Arcade Fire was gonna win. Otherwise, why would they close the show? And they got two numbers." (Disclaimer: I swear by the Lefsetz Letter and probably read it more than any other music blog or magazine out there.)
Today, Arcade Fire manager Scott Rodger fired back, in appropriately enough, a letter to Lefsetz that was re-printed today. It's pretty interesting, even if you're in the Who Cares If The NARAS Knew And Placed Their 'Big Win' Act on Last? camp. The highlights from Rodger's Blackberry-typed response:
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.
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.
PS: If you don't subscribe to the Lefstez Letter, you're getting left out.