The GRAMMY Awards have unveiled an array of changes to some of the ceremony’s most coveted categories.
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Having been the subject of ample debate, the Recording Academy have made clear that they have listened to the feedback and implemented changes accordingly. Notably to a number of the “Urban” and Latin categories.
Tweaks have also been made to the eligibility of the Best New Artist award – one of the show’s “big four.”
In a statement trumpeting the news, Harvey Mason Jr, Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy said:
“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 Academy accepts proposals for rule changes from members of the music community throughout the year that are carefully reviewed and, if accepted, ultimately ratified at our annual Board meeting, a process that we are proud to have continued in this challenging year.”
Summary Of Amendments To Categories
Best Urban Contemporary Album Category — Renamed and Redefined
Best Urban Contemporary Album has been renamed Best Progressive R&B Album to appropriately categorize and describe this subgenre. This change includes a more accurate definition to describe the merit or characteristics of music compositions or performances themselves within the genre of R&B.
- Best Progressive R&B Album: This category is intended to highlight albums that include the more progressive elements of R&B and may include samples and elements of hip-hop, rap, dance, and electronic music. It may also incorporate production elements found in pop, euro-pop, country, rock, folk, and alternative.
Best Rap/Sung Performance Category — Renamed and Redefined
Best Rap/Sung Performance has been renamed Best Melodic Rap Performance to represent the inclusivity of the growing hybrid performance trends within the rap genre. The expanded category is defined as follows:
- Best Melodic Rap Performance: This category is intended to recognize solo and collaborative performances containing elements of rap and melody over modern production. This performance requires 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. The production may include traditional elements of rap or elements characteristic of the aforementioned non-rap genres.
Latin Field: Placement of Latin Urban Recordings — Reclassify
Latin Pop Album has been renamed Best Latin Pop Or Urban Album and Latin Rock, Urban Or Alternative Album has been renamed Best Latin Rock Or Alternative Album to migrate the genres of Latin urban and represent the current state and prominent representation in the Latin urban genres.
- Best Latin Pop Or Urban Album: This category is intended to recognize excellence in Latin pop or urban music recordings that utilize a stylistic intention, song structure, lyrical content, and/or musical presentation to create a sensibility that reflects the broad spectrum of Latin pop music style and culture. The category includes recordings from balladeers and commercial Latin music and is not limited to any one region.
- Best Latin Rock Or Alterative Album: This category is intended to highlight Latin rock or alternative music recordings that utilize a stylistic intention, song structure, lyrical content and/or musical presentation to create a sensibility that reflects the broad spectrum of the Latin music style and culture.
Best New Artist — Eligibility
There is no longer a specified maximum number of releases prohibiting artists from entering the Best New Artist category. As such, the screening committees will be charged with determining whether the artist had attained a breakthrough or prominence prior to the eligibility year. Such a determination would result in disqualification.
Additionally, changes have been announced relating the Nominations Review Committees – addressing potential conflicts of interest:
At the time of invitation to participate on a Nominations Review Committee, a conflict of interest disclosure form will be provided. Each person invited to be a member of such a committee must disclose to the best of their knowledge whether, in connection with any recording that may be entered in the current year’s GRAMMY Awards process, (a) the person would be in line to receive a GRAMMY nomination or win for any recordings being considered in a particular category, (b) the person would have any direct or indirect financial ties to the recordings or creators under consideration, (c) the person has immediate familial ties to any of the artists in the top voter selections, and/or (d) any other conflict of interest, actual or perceived. If a recording listed by the invitee presents a conflict of interest, the Academy will notify the committee member that they cannot participate on the committee that year. If, in the unlikely event that, despite these proactive efforts, a conflict is discovered during the committee meeting, that person will be notified and recused from the meeting. Failure to voluntarily disclose any conflict of interest will result in the person being barred from future Nominations Review Committee participation.
Announcements relating to the 2021 GRAMMYs are expected in due course.
Pending then, what’s your take on the changes? As ever, let us know…