By Joseph Brannigan Lynch
Updated July 27, 2017 at 11:32 AM EDT

Arcade Fire manager Scott Rodger has (arcade) fired back at allegations that his Canadian indie rockers knew about their “Album of the Year” Grammy win ahead of time.

Rodger insists there was “no big plot” in spite of what industry player Steve Stoute implied in a full-page ad in the New York Times, which Rodger calls “a nice piece of self-publicity.”

Rodger was referring to Stoute’s vitriolic letter in Sunday’s Times which marveled at the “sheer coincidence” that Arcade Fire were ready to play out the awards show immediately after nabbing their Grammy.

As for whether the least-known band on the Grammy broadcast was in cahoots with insider masterminds and network TV execs, Rodger had this to say:

“Arcade Fire had the final slot on the Grammys as the ratings are low at the end of the broadcast. It really is that simple. We were one of the least-known acts on the bill for a network audience. Don’t you think I wanted a better slot for the band?”

Rodger also said their second performance was not guaranteed, as the producers would have cut it if the awards show had run overtime. In fact, the last half of “Ready to Start” was still drowned-out by sponsorship messages and completely cut from international broadcasts.

Rodger’s assurances aren’t likely to change Stoute’s mind, though. What mystifies this record company executive is that the highest-selling musicians do not necessarily dominate the Grammy Awards. Apparently Stoute forgot that today’s top hitmakers already receive a much more valuable reward… it’s called money.

“Arcade Fire deserved the win this year,” band manager Rodger stated unequivocally. “They made the best album. If the award was named ‘Album Sales Of The Year’ award, there would be no discussion.”

As best as one can rank matters of taste, it would be fairly fruitless to argue with Rodger on those points: “The Suburbs” sold fewer copies but received much better critical notices than nominated records by Eminem, Katy Perry or Ladies Gaga and Antebellum. Metacritic—which gives an averaged rating based on music reviewers nationwide—posted a helpful article that demonstrates this.

It also shows something that might surprise fans of radio pop and indie music alike: Last year, the best-reviewed album (that was Grammy-nominated) also won Album of the Year. In terms of critical praise, Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” just squeaked past Gaga’s “The Fame,” but it soared past every other Best Album nominee, according to review aggregator Metacritic.

And considering “Fearless” was also the bestselling record in the U.S. for 2009, Stoute’s concern that the Grammys “have clearly lost touch with contemporary popular culture” makes it seem like he’s clearly lost his short-term memory.

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