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Daft Flunks: The Grammys’ Rocky Relationship With EDM

From the ill-fated Best Disco Recording category to the ill-fitting FooMau5 collaboration

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This year, veteran androids Daft Punk may get more than lucky at the Grammys, as the first electronic group in history to get nominated for Album of the Year — we know it's for an album with live drums on it, but baby steps, people. In addition, the Grammys will honor their robot forefathers Kraftwerk with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Combining this with nominations for artists like Disclosure, Pretty Lights, Zedd and Calvin Harris, this is easily the ceremony's best year for electronic music. But it wasn't always this way. Here's the rough road that the Grammys danced along to get here. By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd and Christopher R. Weingarten

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2013: The Saga of Al Walser

And the nominees for Best Dance Recording are: Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia, Calvin Harris, Avicii and. . .Al Walser? While his competitors were dominating festival stages, this "entertainment mogul" had fewer than 7,000 YouTube plays total for his nominated song, "I Can't Live Without You." How did this happen? One theory we alluded to last year: "Walser is well connected in Grammy circles: he's a voter, and he's active on Grammy365, a social networking site for the awards. He also solicits opinions from people he's networked with while working on songs, which means many Grammy voters know who he is." As Walser told MTV, "Thousands of people have been part of the process of my songs. So probably when it came to ballot time they were very familiar with my name. There's nothing wrong with [that]."

 

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2013: Skrillex Wins Everything (Yay!); Nothing is Televised (Sigh)

The Grammys had had their dalliance with electronic music and appeared to be over it, despite the fact that EDM was still raking in buckets of money and attracting record festival attendees. (In 2012, Electric Daisy Carnival's main Vegas event alone attracted 300,000 people.) But astronomical DJ fees and touring proceeds does not the Grammys make, so after gesturing to the genre with a 2012 performance, the fickle board brushed its Dance Awards to the side. Skrillex swept both dance categories and Best Remixed Recording, but there was barely any visual evidence: The Grammys, weary of your blips and your bleeps, neglected to air any of it on the television. 

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