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You may not care about the Grammys. You may not care about video games. Hell, you may not even care about the music industry in general! But one thing is certain, something historic just happened.
A video game won a Grammy in the obscure category of "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)".
The video game is Civilization IV, which was released in 2005. Now I know what you’re thinking: How the hell did a 2005 game get a Grammy for 2010?
The answer is simple. It was rearranged for the concert tour Video Games Live. Here’s the award winning performance, brought to you by PBS.
Okay, now that I won the race to be the first to post this on Spill.com let me expand on the effect this win has had on the video game industry.
Video game music has been, more or less, ignored as an art form. This is in part because when someone says “video game music,” most people assume they mean the beeps and bloops from the 8-bit era of gaming or those chip-set tunes that play on your iPod games sound like they came out of a Casio keyboard.
While it may have started out there, it has grown and evolved as a medium. We have full symphonies now playing the background music for game scenarios, famous composers from Hollywood signing on to score a video game for one reason or another. And then there’s the concert series Video Games Live that I mentioned earlier! Music in video games is now as legit as an art form as the soundtrack to Inception.
And now, it has been validated as such with this Grammy win. It may have been in an obscure category that nobody gives two shits about, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Congratulations! The music industry can no longer brush video games to the side as a sub-genre that shouldn't be taken seriously.
Here’s hoping the Grammys DON’T do what the Oscars did and create a separate category exclusively for video games. Although, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if they don’t treat it the way the Oscars have been treating animated films until last year with Up’s Best Picture nomination.
UPDATE: Looks like I got my information wrong as to why "Baba Yetu" was nominated in the first place. According to this article, the game's composer Christopher Tin released an album in 2010 titled Calling All Dawns. Among the tracks he included was the ORIGINAL track for Civ. 4 and NOT the rearrangement done for Video Games Live. See what happens when you rush, people? Oh well, at least the correct information is now on this post.