• Friday will be the 37th ceremony of the Victoires de la Musique.

  • At the head of its presidency now stands Stéphane Espinosa, CEO of Polydor.

  • News, reviews… The president of Victories answered questions from

    20 Minutes

    .

If all viewers will have their eyes turned to Stromae, honorary president of the Victoires de la Musique on Friday, another president is hiding behind this 37th ceremony: Stéphane Espinosa.

Managing director of the Polydor label (Universal), he succeeded Romain Vivien as head of the presidency of Les Victoires this year, for a two-year term.

Like his predecessor, he pursues the desire to achieve parity within the college of voters and also defends the presence of "non-professionals" among them.

His arrival is also accompanied by the creation of the new category "most streamed album", which thus replaces that of "most streamed single" in 2021. A few days before the Victories,

20 Minutes

interviewed Stéphane Espinosa, on the axes of his presidency, on the specificities of this ceremony, but also the criticisms to which it has been subjected.

With what state of mind do you take up the torch of this presidency?

With a positive state of mind because for me Victories is something very important.

It's a time when we do a kind of review of the year and where the revelations have for the first time the opportunity to make a performance at prime time.

For me it's an essential thing, I've been working in music for a while and the Victories have always had an important role for many developing artists.

It's not a must, but it's true that it's something that can often help artists find their audience.

For me, it's a ceremony that has two roles: taking a photograph of the past year and presenting us with the talents of tomorrow.

Last year, we could feel the weight of the health crisis on the cultural sector during this ceremony.

Is this likely to be the case again this year after this difficult winter for artists?

We all hope that this will be the beginning of liberation.

The news is pretty good and we hope that the coming weeks will be those of the real reopening where we can return to concerts normally.

This may be the moment that will give back the top.

After the announcements of the nominees, the Victoires received some criticism, in particular on a certain tightening towards artists very marked French song to the detriment of other registers.

How do you analyze this?

It seemed really important to us to be even more connected with what is happening and with the creativity of the moment.

That's why we decided to create the Victories for the most streamed albums for a male artist and for a female artist, which gives us today SCH (

Julius II

) and Aya Nakamura (

AYA

).

This allows us to move towards more modernity and perhaps more artistic openness.

There is also Orelsan who is an urban artist, Angèle who is more pop than chanson… Well, for me, it's quite open this year.

Afterwards, we can always progress, we naturally think about what could make things evolve in a positive way.

But here I find it quite representative of what happened this year.

There are always people who are more or less happy, but with this victory for the most streamed albums, urban music is not badly represented.

The appearance of this category has also been debated.

The Yard media considered it to be a "purely mathematical category that has no weight of esteem".

What is the purpose of these categories?

It was to be connected to creativity and to be a bit more modern.

This is really the interest today for me.

But do you understand these criticisms?

Last year there was already the single and I also find it interesting to weight the judgment with some objective data.

In "Seven to eight", the artist Grand Corps Malade expressed his frustration at not being named, and pointed the finger at the voting system and the distribution between voters and record companies.

Do you understand his frustration?

I can understand because it's true that it was one of the great successes of this year.

After, he won last year [

But I love you

with Camille Lellouche was voted "original song" in 2021], the album was released.

This year he could have been named “artist of the year” but no longer “album of the year”.

It also shows that Victories are important for artists and that's why it should be their ceremony.

It turns out that voters may have decided to vote for albums released this year.

In fact, that may be the problem when you have successes like that that span two years, the professionals may have considered that it was a record from the year before.

I hear his frustration and I understand it but I think he is an important artist and will win others.

All nominated artists perform live at this ceremony.

Does this specificity partly explain why the number of nominees per year is limited in each category, and thus limits a broader representation of musical diversity?

It's not something we take into consideration.

For example, in the album there are five nominees – instead of three for the other categories – precisely because we wanted there to be more diversity and open up to more albums.

I don't think it's related to that.

What we can blame a little is the fact that there are a lot of duplicates, and that's really due to the choices of the voters.

Orelsan's album really left its mark, as did those of Juliette Armanet, Clara Luciani, Feu!

Chatterton… I have the impression that voters wanted to congratulate them in all categories and that's why there are some duplicates.

There were strong albums that people wanted to name and highlight.

Another problem was highlighted, in particular by Rokhaya Diallo.

In a tweet she pointed out that only a non-white artist was among the nominees, and in the only category that is not subject to a jury vote.

What is your point of view on this issue, which also touches on diversity?

When I think of diversity I really think of musical diversity and I am for there to be more and more of it.

I arrived this year and for me there are two super important things: the parity of voters, today we are 54% men and 46% women and we will do everything to get there.

Secondly, more diversity, but it also depends on the releases and we are a bit dependent on the market unfortunately.

We are thinking about what could improve this with the categories and the voters.

Will these be the lines of thought for your presidency?

These are my two main axes yes and we are thinking about what we can do.

Afterwards, as I told you, we are also dependent on releases and depending on the year, one musical genre can be more marked than another.

But we are aware of that and we are working on it to try to progress next year.

Culture

Victoires de la musique 2022: Orelsan and Clara Luciani dominate the nominations

Culture

Victoires de la musique 2022: Stromae will be the honorary president of the ceremony

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