Halsey Accuses the Recording Academy of Demanding Bribes for Grammy Nominations and Awards

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Halsey in 2019. Photo Credit: Toglenn

In a since-deleted Instagram post, Halsey criticized the Recording Academy’s behind-the-scenes operations – including by stating that the organization accepts “bribes” for Grammys nominations and awards.

The New Jersey-born artist’s firmly worded criticism of the Recording Academy arrives just days after The Weeknd took aim at the 63-year-old entity, calling the Grammy Awards “corrupt.” Like Halsey, whose Manic effort was the first album of 2020 to be certified Platinum by the RIAA, The Weeknd and his chart-topping After Hours record failed to receive a single nomination ahead of the 2021 Grammys.

Multiple artists backed The Weeknd, though Recording Academy interim President and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. responded to the corruption allegations by indicating that the “Starboy” creator’s lack of nominations was a natural byproduct of the Grammys voting process.

Halsey – who’s received two Grammy nominations to date, but has yet to win the award – begins her Instagram message on the Grammys snub by emphasizing that many individuals had reached out to offer words of support. Consequently, the 26-year-old, whose full name is Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, wanted to choose her words “carefully.”

From there, Halsey characterizes the Grammys as “an elusive process” and relays that success at the awards show “often” results from private performances, “knowing the right people,” and campaigning “with the right handshakes and ‘bribes’ that can be just ambiguous enough to pass as ‘not-bribes.’”

“And if you get that far,” continues the “Without Me” artist, “it’s about committing to exclusive TV performances and making sure you help the Academy make their millions in advertising on the night of the show.”

This comment is particularly noteworthy because some have suggested that The Weeknd’s Super Bowl LV halftime show – which is set to take place one week after the 63rd Grammy Awards ceremony – contributed to his receiving zero nominations. The Weeknd himself also mentioned the possibility, which Harvey Mason Jr. denied, stating that the voting process had concluded before the public announcement of The Weeknd’s halftime-show spot.

Worth noting, however, is that Jay-Z – whose wife, Beyoncé, received the most 2021 Grammy nominations of any artist – had likely worked for some time to finalize The Weeknd’s headlining slot, given his Roc Nation company’s partnership with the NFL.

In closing, Halsey suggests that the Grammys aren’t “always about the music or quality or culture,” states that both The Weeknd and her Manic album deserved better, and expresses a desire for “more transparency or reform” at the Recording Academy. “But I’m sure this post will blacklist me anyway,” concludes Halsey, who scored a major Budweiser sponsorship deal last month.

At the time of publishing, Harvey Mason Jr. hadn’t publicly responded to Halsey’s claims. But as the interim Recording Academy head addressed The Weeknd’s condemnation of the Grammys – which, unlike Halsey’s criticism, remains live on social media – he may well issue a public comment on the subject.

Since former Recording Academy head Deborah Dugan stepped down last year (levying allegations of corruption, sexual harassment, and a corresponding lawsuit on her way out), the Grammys organizer has taken a number of reform-minded steps – including renaming awards categories, hiring a chief diversity officer, and retooling eligibility requirements.

9 Responses

  1. Dear Hasley

    You must understand that if the academy really voted and had a say in who is nominated you would have never made as far as to be bribed

    You my dear are an industry entertainer

    That’s all….

  2. wurdo

    so many sore losers love to trash the system. artists vote. fellow artists thought other records were more deserving. the end.

  3. Ruell Bankasingh

    i see a lot of people leave comments, yet are afraid to put their names. the success of an album is a success of an album, the problem with people is they don’t analyze the simple facts. not everyone listens to rap or country or pop music. and a lot listen to all of it, this means that what is appealing to you might not be to a lot of people. so when their making platinum hits, no matter the style, people like the style and what their doing. Now once you see that the former head of the company had to step down for the same allegations, and the albums being snubbed are actually albums that really would have tons of supporters and yet are no where on the listed, then obviously there is something wrong, and mostly it’s the fact that the whole company is not doing what they should, most companies are corrupt now, and only care about profits, even if they are not purposed that way, they are all in a race to become the richer than the next and they squeeze every cent out of the people. it’s the clinton way, the rich only care about themselves and they will do any wrong against anyone to get what they want, even against children. this is the society that has been created and so, no one really does anything about, except for the one guy, that was in a position, with enough clout, to try to do something out of desire to help, they hate the big orange flame, because he is trying to burn down the corrupt society and create a fair one. not to be political, just stating the facts of the circumstance. the second the get caught the send trolls to try to manipulate the people against victims, because they want to continue to do wrong and get away with it. the fact is, it’s impossible for them to not be nominated and too many times, not based on genre but data and like ability factors people have had the same conclusion, this can’t be right, even some winners are like, i should not have one, and the fact is, these industry leaders, use their influence to negatively affect people’s careers, so you ever hear from the complainers again. the fact is the fact, most like the entire company is set in its ways to collect bribes for nominations and they build their business on using their leverage to ensure their success. They should just revamp the process. do it right and tons of people will watch regardless of the performers at the event, and the artist should try to at least, at least put out the effort to show up to the awards no matter what, because it is a benefit to all artist and will eventually help you in the future, a lot of artist do skip the events even when they are winners. so for the fans, take the one day they request to show up and accept the awards, be nice, humble, grateful and then go handle your business. You can be successful doing things the right way, you just have to choose to do so.

  4. Wonder away doll

    You poor simple creature the entire thing is fake…

    The acts the votes the hype the fans its a bigger.show than Jesus on Sunday

    Nice long sentence though

    To bad no time to read it

  5. The Purple Phantom

    This is an organization structured from its beginnings to have the weakest possible board of directors in favor of management and outside “consultants” that run it like their private candy store. Without genuine board oversight, instead of professional enablers and rubber stampers, the corruption will continue until the organization collapses of its own weight. And considering the number of scandals over a period of decades, maybe that’s not so bad. What a shame that Music Cares and the Museum (such as it is) have to suffer along with the carnival barkers, sycophants and circus clowns responsible for this rot. Move it to NY, run it like a real not for profit organization with real oversight and true pro bono legal counsel, and put a little bit more into building integrity instead of ratings. Because when you have no integrity, as is being proven, you have no ratings, anyway.

  6. IMHO

    She is correct on some accounts. An artist with whom I worked released a specialty album. We hoped for a nomination. She is a prior three-time Grammy winner. Our publicist advised that my artist ought to spend time with the local NARAS chapter, she said that the previous year’s category winner had done that and also attended RIAA lunches and events in Los Angeles, had written personal notes to send Academy board members along with copies of the CD (yes we know that many people don’t listen to the CD. But it was the personalized part.) The publicist advised that ‘playing the game’ would help the potential nomination along.

    The show is bartering for performers long before the nominations are announced. They want want exclusives. Which is why an artist cannot play the AMA’s and the Grammy’s, it’s one or the other. I couldn’t say whether The Weeknd’s playing the Super Bowl affected his nomination shut out, but it likely would prevent an appearance on the Grammy’s. I imagine this would be something that both the Grammy’s *and* the Super Bowl would require, given that they air a week apart.

  7. Hank Therum

    Complainers, the lot of you. Go take out your resentment against the Billboard awards or the AMAs. They aren’t based on other artists voting. This is.

  8. Blobbo

    Halsey would know a lot about payola, being a major donater, and dating a mega manager.

    Bad music, bad people, bad industry. Someone needs to start a new music industry NOW.

    • Blobbo

      How many of the greatest artists never got a GRammy? Most!

      F the Grammys. It’s a dishonor to get one honestly. It means you’re dirty and sold out and on the plantation.