Santa Monica, CA (June 27, 2018)—Recording Academy president Neil Portnow announced changes in the GRAMMY Awards nomination process in a letter to the organization’s 20,000-plus members on June 26.
“Because the Grammy Awards reflect what’s happening in the ever-changing landscape of music, the Recording Academy works diligently to make sure our awards process continually evolves to meet the needs of the music community,” wrote Portnow. The new rules were reportedly ratified at the Trustees’ meeting in May in Hawaii. Since Portnow’s contract with the Recording Academy ends in July 2019, these are likely to be the last awards show changes he will oversee.
Taking a leaf from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences’ playbook, perhaps, the new rules include an expansion of the number of nominations from five to eight in the prestigious Record, Song and Album of the Year categories and for Best New Artist. In the email statement, a copy of which was obtained by Billboard magazine, Portnow says this will provide “more flexibility to our voters when having to make the often challenging decisions about representing excellence and the best in music for the year.”
The remaining 80 GRAMMY categories will continue to be capped at five nominations each. In 2011, on Portnow’s watch, the number of categories was reduced to 78 from 109—they have since increased to 84—and gender categories were eliminated. As Billboard observes, since the telecast endeavors to spotlight nominees in the Album of the Year category it is currently unclear what impact, if any, the increase in nomination numbers will have on the awards show.
Other rule changes are largely clarifications or fine-tuning. For example, music supervisors have now been added to the nominee groups in the category of Best Compilation Soundtrack Album and restoration engineers will now be eligible in the Best Historical Album category.
A nominations review committee will pick five nominees from the top 15 selected by the general voting membership’s first ballot in the World Music category, bringing it into line with certain other categories, including Album of the Year.
The criteria for Best Alternative Music Album have been expanded. Any “music that embraces attributes of progression and innovation in both the music and attitudes associated with it,” which the statement also describes as a less intense version of rock or a more intense version of pop, may now be nominated.
The new rules take effect immediately, in time for the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards ceremony, which return to the Staples Center in Los Angeles in 2019.
Recording Academy • www.grammy.com