A number of years ago the Recording Academy reduced the number of categories from 110 to 78, since then they have added a few to 86 after protests from artists to have them restored.
This week, the Academy has added some new categories including a new songwriting category that covers far more than the Song of the Year awards.
A non-classical category, the Songwriter of the Year Award will honour a composer’s body of work. The Academy classifies the category as honouring “the most prolific non-performing and non-producing songwriter for a body of new work during an eligibility year”.
Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason spoke on the new award saying, “this new category is truly for an expert person at the songwriting craft.”
To be eligible for the new Songwriter Award the nominee must have written a minimum of five songs where they are listed as the songwriter or co-writer but not the performer.
Mason added, “somebody who writes their own music and records it would not be eligible. They would have to be doing songs for others. We want to highlight the craft of writing songs professionally for artists. Songwriters are at the heart of our business and industry. Nothing happens without songwriters. For us, this was a no brainer. It’s in alignment with all the changes. We thought, ‘How can we do more? Showcase more people and be more inclusive to different genres?’”
The Spoken Word category is being split up with one of the new awards being for Best Spoken Word Poetry Album. The Best Spoken Word category has been renamed Best Audio Book, Narration & Storytelling Recording.
The other new awards are for Alternative Music Performance, Americana Music Performance, and Score Soundtrack for video games and other interactive media.
Nominees for the Best Score Soundtrack must feature predominantly original music that was written specifically for the video game or interactive media.
Along with the new performance categories, the Recording Academy will be presenting a special merit award for Best Song for Social Change. Nominees will be determined by its lyrical content that address timely social issues that promotes “understanding, peacebuilding and empathy.”
Harvey Mason spoke on the new award saying, “it’s always the right time to recognize music that’s changing the world. I think it deserves a special recognition. These songs are important and impactful. We want to make sure we’re honoring and celebrating that artform. This is a great way to do that.”
The Best Alternative Music and Americana Performance categories are for solo, collaborative artist, duo or group.
The new awards will begin with the 2023 Grammy Award ceremonies.
Other changes in the eligibility rules are:
To be eligible music on an album goes from 50 to 75 percent new content. Package and compilation releases do not count.
The New Age category has been renamed Best New Age, Ambient Or Chant Album.
Category definitions have been updated.