Last night, the nominations for the 2013 Grammy Awards were announced. At first glance, the most notable moment of the night was when for some reason someone allowed Taylor Swift to get onstage and beatbox. But soon after the nominations were announced, a few bloggers noticed something very curious about the nominations for Best Dance Recording, which include Skrillex, Calvin Harris, Avicii, Swedish House Mafia and Al Walser. You know these guys, all your little brother's favorite... wait, who the fuck is Al Walser?
Until up until this morning, very few people had ever heard the name Al Walser, at least before SPIN's Philip Sherburne hunted for some answers. But, I'll let Al Walser explain who he is (sic on the following, by the way):
Al Walser is an alround international entertainment mogul , CEO of US Record Label Cut The Bull entertainment and owner of publishing house " Amiville "
If it seems fishy that a self-proclaimed "alround international entertainment mogul" could get nominated for a Grammy, you're right. Walser, a native of Liechtenstein, was nominated for his song "I Can't Live Without You," which was released in September and has amassed only slightly over 10,000 total views on YouTube despite having two official videos. Let's all just take a second and watch "I Can't Live Without You," because it's hard to totally grasp what's going on here without seeing Al Walser "playing" a keytar in front of a green screen showing footage straight out of a Tokyo karaoke bar.
Grammy nominated dance sensation, Al Walser, folks! Please, keep your applause going. So, obviously, you can see why all of a sudden people are dumbfounded as to why the dance music version of Rebecca Black got nominated for anything besides "Worst ever contestant on 'America's Got Talent'". What's still unclear is how exactly this happened, though artist manager and blogger Daniel Weisman has a compelling hypothesis.
The Grammys have their own social networking site called Grammy365, because what would the world be without another useless way to connect to random people. Grammy365 is open to members of the Recording Academy — according to Weisman, there is about 13,000 total members, though roughly 10,000 are allowed to vote on the Grammys. Walser is a member of the Academy, and he's also unsurprisingly a good, or at least a relentless, networker. Weisman took screenshots of Walser's Grammy365 page, which shows 104 pages of "contacts," a number that comes out to over 4,000 contacts (or friends) in total.
You can see where this is going, I'm sure. Here is Weisman's theory:
There are very few voting members who are in the EDM community since the genre is relatively new and only recently did it start getting mainstream attention. So a voting member, who likely has very little knowledge about EDM, scrolls through the nominees and more than likely votes for someone whose name they recognize, hence why Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Calvin Harris and Skrillex got nominated. But if 3200 voting members are "friends" with someone on Grammy365 and chances are they will recognize the name of someone (Al Walser) who has friended them, messaged them and/or updated them, then chances are they will vote for that person.
Weisman also has screenshots of Walser spamming his contacts' feeds with updates on "I Can't Live Without You." Here is an example:
here's the making of the song "i can't live without you" that has just been submitted for best dance recording.
my team and i hope you like it and would consider it in the voting process.
Of course, anyone that watched "I Can't Live Without You" would never consider it in the voting process because it's unknown, terrible and completely amateur. But you would only know that if you watched the video instead of blindly filling out a ballot, and that takes a level of commitment that apparently most Grammy voters don't have.
So, welcome to the future, Grammys: you've been trolled.