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The American Music Award Nominations Are Here and K-Pop Artists Continue to be Snubbed

American Music Awards

In the 1960s, the so-called British Invasion saw the United States music charts dominated by British rock musicians for the first time. Despite the popularity of bands like The Who, The Rolling Stones and Cream, the only British Invasion band recognized during the actual British Invasion period was The Beatles, and that was only after years of losing Best Album to Frank Sinatra; their one win in the category was for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, though they won several other awards in various categories over the eight years they were active as a group.

So far the music industry has been slow to recognize K-pop artists despite the explosive popularity of groups like BTS and Blackpink. No K-pop act has won a Grammy yet and today’s AMA nominations show BTS once again snubbed for all the major awards, relegated to Favorite Social Artist (an award that has only ever been won by BTS since it was introduced) and Favorite Rock or Pop Group or Duo, which they won last year.

The AMAs are nominated by music industry insiders but voted on by the public, and I think we all know that means BTS would win any category they were nominated in. So far the band is four for four in AMA nominations, with one win and nomination in 2018 and three in 2019, all in relatively minor categories compared to Favorite Artist or Favorite Album.

Despite the name, there are no rules against non-Americans at the American Music Awards, and Justin Bieber and One Direction have done very well over the years.

So what is the reason you can’t look at Twitter or the Billboard Hot 100 without being bombarded by K-pop acts but none of those musicians are being rewarded by the American music industry for their success? Is it racism? In this case, I don’t think racism is the issue, capitalism is.

A lot of the people who make nominations for these sorts of awards work in the record industry and as such have a financial interest in the success of acts signed to American labels. Why would they want to see the groups they and their friends are making money from to be embarrassed by a clean sweep from a band they don’t make a dime on?

We live in an increasingly global society and the popularity of K-pop isn’t a passing fad; no more than the popularity of any other pop acts, that is. Sooner or later the American industry is going to have to recognize their accomplishments, but if The Rolling Stones are any indication, it won’t be for another 30 years.

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