The Recording Academy has announced major changes to its nomination process for the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, which will take place on January 31, 2022. Secret committees for the “Big Four” category nominations will be eliminated, and two new categories are on the way.
Previously, Grammy nominations were finalized by 15-30 music industry "peers" representing their "genre communities." Now, the final pool of nominees for nearly all Grammy awards will be decided by a majority vote of Academy voting members.
While most categories will eliminate committees, the “Craft” categories (Producer, Packaging, and Liner Notes) will continue to be decided by a select group of industry professionals. Voters may now only vote in 10 (previously 15) specific genre field categories. Those 10 categories must be within no more than three fields.
Secret committees have been used by the Academy since 1989, but only with the "Big Four" since 1995. This is because controversy erupted over the 1994 Grammy nominations when some argued Album of the Year nods for Tony Bennett and The Three Tenors, and none for alternative or hip hop artists, showed the Grammys were out of touch. Now, it's the secret committees in the "Big Four" categories that have inspired artists like The Weeknd, Zayn Malik, and Nicki Minaj to call out the Grammys for being "rigged."
Now that nominees for most Grammy categories will be chosen by the general electorate, the Recording Academy says that 90 percent of its voting members will go through a “requalification process” by the end of 2021. They will do this “to ensure that the voting body is actively engaged in music creation.”
Finally, two new categories have been added: Best Global Music Performance and Best Música Urbana Album. This brings the total number of categories to 86. The trustees have also added a month to the eligibility period for this year. It will extend from September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.
“It's been a year of unprecedented, transformational change for the Recording Academy, and I'm immensely proud to be able to continue our journey of growth with these latest updates to our Awards process," said Harvey Mason Jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy. "This is a new Academy, one that is driven to action and that has doubled down on the commitment to meeting the needs of the music community.”
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Article Image: Stylized representation of a gramaphone having a similar shape to the the Grammy Awards logo. (Supernino [Available through Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons.)