Nearly two weeks after longtime marketing and music executive Steve Stoute took out a full-page ad in the New York Times criticizing the Grammy Awards for a "show [that] has become a series of hypocrisies and contradictions," he and Neil Portnow, head of the Grammys' parent organization NARAS, issued a statement Thursday saying that they "have come together in a collaborative manner to discuss how the Recording Academy can continue to evolve in an ever-changing cultural environment."
In a tone reminiscent of onstage speeches at the Grammys, the statement reads: "The voices of artists and our creative community are at the heart of the missions of the Recording Academy and indeed the music industry itself. Expanding constructive and positive ways to continue to actively incorporate generational and artistic diversity in the Academy's development and good work serves those important missions. The participation of new and culturally diverse voices has and continues to be a goal which benefits our members, the creative community, and music fans everywhere.
"To that end, we have come together in a collaborative manner to discuss how the Recording Academy can continue to evolve in an ever-changing cultural environment. We invite others who share this agenda to join us in these discussions."
It's a long way from the wording of Stoute's letter, in which he said "the Grammy Awards have clearly lost touch with contemporary popular culture" in its "over-zealousness to produce a popular show that is at odds with its own system of voting and [its] fundamental disrespect of cultural shifts as being viable and artistic."
He then singled out what he deemed to be snubs by the Academy directed at Eminem, Justin Bieber and Kanye West; Eminem and Bieber lost in most of the major categories for which they'd been nominated in last month's awards. He also seemed to allege that award wins are connected to artists performing during the show, citing Arcade Fire's surprise win of Album of the Year for "The Suburbs" to the group performing two songs at the end of the show -- a decision that longtime Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich told reporters had been made the day before the show, although he also admitted to being a fan of the group.
He concluded by calling on artists to "demand that they change this system and truly reflect and truly acknowledge your art."