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Conning your way to a Grammy nomination - The strange case of Al Walser

As the Grammy nominations were rolled out on Wednesday night it was a case of so far, so conventional. Right up until someone somewhere actually began to take a closer look at the dance music category and started to ask – who on earth is Al Walser?

And now everyone, including the Grammy committees themselves are wondering how he actually ended up on there.

Al Walser's Facebook page claims that he is a ‘Grammy Voting and Nominating member’ a fact that has not survived contact with scrutiny. What he does have however is a profile on the Grammys social network site – Grammy365. Having befriended over 4000 people on the site, 76% of whose members have voting rights on the nomination committee, he then started to make a heavy play for their votes in the lead up to the final ballots. With an average age of voting members clocking it at above 40, it seems that he employed one of the oldest cons in the book to land his nomination.

Most of the voting members don’t really have much of a clue about dance music – hence the wincingly ‘pop’ nature of the other nominees. So when confronted with a name that seems familiar (through the site rather than the music press – but familiar nevertheless) and a relentless stream of pleas for votes, they seem to have opted for the path of least resistance and voted for a name they recognised somewhere in the mists of their mind.

Especially when private messages reading ‘"I have submitted 'I Can't Live Without You' as Best Dance Recording and would be more than so honored to have your vote considered for this track’ land in their inbox.

Walser doesn’t deny it. In an interview after the scandal broke, he credited his nomination to "nourishing" his fellow Grammy voters.

In what looks like the ultimate triumph of networking over either style or substance, his nomination stands as no rules were broken. The only thing actually broken was the credibility of the Grammys.

Walser, a karaoke singer from Lichtenstein who has been attending openings of even the tiniest envelope in LA for years has actually written a book entitled Make It Big: The Secret Path to Break In Today's Music Industry. Crammed with references to "secret tools" for music industry success, he seems to be his own best advert.

One can’t help but tip one’s hat to him. The Grammy nomination process however...............

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