A number of years ago the Recording Academy reduced the number of Grammy Award nominations from 110 down to just 78; but after a huge backlash from artists, the number was restored to 84.
When the Grammy Award ceremonies returns in 2021, there will be a few more changes.
In the wake of numerous conflict of interest allegations, the Recording Academy is now requiring nominating committee members to sign disclosure forms to alleviate the issue including profiting in some way from the artist’s work. The ruling includes musicians who were invited to be a part of the review committees.
To further aid in the transparency of the nominating and review committees, members are allowed to be on the committee for three consecutive years before having to take a year off; committee chairs must take a two year break.
The New Artist category has also seen a good bit of criticism over eligibility and adaptability to the ever changing music industry. There is no longer a song or album limit to determine eligibility for the category. The change will be of benefit to younger artists, especially rappers, who tend to release singles over albums.
There was a time when earning a Grammy Award was a prestigious honour; but over the years, numerous questions and allegations over whether the awards were rigged and filled with conflicts of interest. Those allegations came to a climax when former Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan brought them to the forefront before she was put on administrative leave and subsequently fired in January.
Another change is in renaming the category of best rap and sung performance or collaboration. The category will now be called the Best Melodic Rap Performance. Open to solo artists and collaborations, eligibility will require, “a strong and clear presence of melody combined with rap cadence, and is inclusive of dialects, lyrics or performance elements from non-rap genres including R&B, rock, country, electronic or more.”
Formerly known as the best urban contemporary album category has been renamed the Best Progressive R&B album. The Academy says that eligibility requirements include, “more progressive elements of R&B and may include samples and elements of hip-hop, rap, dance, and electronic music.”
When the Academy condensed several of the categories, the Latin categories were compressed into fewer numbers. The Latin pop album has been renamed the Best Latin Pop or Urban album.
The Latin rock, urban, or alternative album has been renamed the Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album.
The Musical Theater category has expanded the award to include the producer, lyricist, and composer if they were involved in composing at least 51 percent of a new score.
The requirements for Best Engineered album in both Classical and non Classical formats will allow inclusion of Hi Res Audio.
Interim Recording Academy President and CEO Harvey Mason Jr spoke on the changes saying, “”I’m excited to announce our latest changes, as we’re constantly evaluating our Awards process and evolving it to ensure the GRAMMY Awards are inclusive and reflect the current state of the music industry.”
The 63rd annual Grammy Award ceremonies are scheduled to air January 31, 2021.