The 2013 Grammy nominees were announced last week, with at least one surprise, particularly in the electronic dance music category. Along with the expected superstars like Avicii and Skrillex, there was a name unfamiliar to most in the EDM scene: Al Walser.
Who is Al Walser? Good question, one that many seasoned music journalists and fans of EDM struggled to answer in the days following the announcement. Walser, it turns out, is a DJ and producer and native of Liechtenstein. As a relative unknown, his nomination has sparked controversy as to the reason he was nominated.
The most reasonable explanation comes from the Huffington Post where writer Dan Weisman suggests that Walser may have essentially spammed his way into the list of nominees. How? By using their own social site, Grammy365. This particular controversy is similar to that which erupted around the DJMag’s Top 100 DJs poll where Swiss DJ Miss Diamond apparently gamed the poll to secure herself a position in the list.
Walser posts regularly to Grammy365, ensuring that Grammy voters recognize his name. The problem is that not many Grammy voters are familiar with EDM and when voting in the category may have voted on initial name-recognition alone. Most voters are older people with no interest in EDM or in most of the lesser known categories, so voting without knowledge of exactly what is being voted on is not unheard of.
Walser has denied the allegations and has threatened to call his lawyer in regards to the rumors. They are only that, just rumors and theories, but they do offer a convincing explanation of why a relatively unknown DJ/producer has been able jump ahead of so many EDM artists who have struggled to gain their followings.