Prize displays like the grams are officially over their top

Incredibly low ratings from the Grammys and Golden Globes confirm that the traditional audience awards show is over

Trevor Noah at the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. Photo: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

If so an organization began awarding prizes for the dramatic fall in cultural relevance, this year ‘s top prize had to go to – awards shows. The ranking rates for recent awards ceremonies are staggering, suggesting a prime turning point for a ceremony that has been crucial to the entertainment industry for decades. Finally, it looks like the mass audience awards show is over.

This week ‘s CBS broadcast of the G.the latest example is rammys. The rankings fell 51% from last year to a low of 9.2 million viewers who tuned in or streamed the broadcast. (The previous low was, in 2006, 17 million TV viewers.) Surprisingly, the ceremony was not even in the top show of the week, coming secondly behind a program of NCIS. This ranking humiliation came just weeks after a grim show similar to the Golden Globes, with their audience down 62% to 6.9 million – the lowest number ever by a long shot.

The fall of the awards ceremony has another impact on a larger movement that has occurred, as the cliché goes, gradually and then all at once. There has been a generation since cable and the internet began to erode the big market paradigm that forced society to turn their cultural perspective in the same direction at the same time. Entertainment became more about an infinite choice serving niche audiences on their own terms: My Spotify or Netflix experience may not bother you at all, and that’s the point. With the rapid expansion of new forms of entertainment such as live streaming, multiplayer online video games, and TikTok has just reflected that trend.

Along the way, the role of the awards emerges in particular as a campfire for the culture to gather around being weakened by the empathy and humiliation of the audience with a persistent underestimation of audiences. create a minority and feminine culture. Add to that the form of the old-fashioned and numerous awards, set up decades earlier when producers could expect tens of millions to come in to watch a multi-hour show. .

Some of these broadcasts seemed to have made progress with format issues anyway – critics praised this year’s Grammys as a remarkably successful production – and you could make an intuitive argument that 2021 has been largely better year for awards ceremonies: We had more pandemic loneliness courting digital entertainment than ever before, finding no excuse for meaningful gatherings and shared experiences. The last audience captured.

Instead, what has emerged is a locking culture – all at the same time – that our interest in meaningful collection depends on interpersonal ones in the world: the water-conversation conversations, the dinner parties , the random interactions in bars and beaches that quietly pique our interest in what everyone else is spending, and how that informs what we are for aspiring or rooting as a cultural award recipient.

The final fall of the awards ceremony as a cultural campfire shows how a year alone has learned that we don’t care what everyone else thinks is like the film that ‘must see or song of the season. For better or worse, we have learned to entertain ourselves.