The Grammys voted to eliminate their anonymous nomination review committees, the groups that determine contenders for top categories in coveted music awards.
The Recording Academy made the announcement Friday after the board of directors met and approved the change.
"It has been a year of unprecedented transformational change for the Recording Academy and I am enormously proud to be able to continue our trajectory of growth with these latest updates to our awards process," said Harvey Mason Jr., Acting President of the Academy. and CEO, in a statement sent Friday.
“This is a new Academy, one that is driven by action and has doubled down on its commitment to meeting the needs of the music community. Although change and progress are the main engines of our actions, something is permanent, the Grammy Award is the only one directed by colleagues and voted by colleagues in recognition of music, "he added. "We are proud to work together with the music community throughout the year to further refine and protect the integrity of the awards process."
The important change comes months after The Weeknd strongly criticized the Grammys and called them "corrupt" after not receiving any nominations for the 2021 gala, despite having the most popular single of the year with "Blinding Lights."
Nominations will now be based solely on the votes of the more than 11.000 voting members of the academy, and the organization said that “more than 90% of its members will have gone through the reevaluation process by the end of the year to ensure that the group voter is actively engaged in creating music ”.
For the four main Grammy awards - album, song and recording of the year, as well as best new artist - a nomination review committee of at least 20 members specializing in music has selected eight nominees out of the 20 who receive the award in recent years. highest number of votes.
Most of the more than 80 Grammys categories were voted on by review committees, which were created with the intention of safeguarding the integrity of a specific genre and providing some additional balance to the categories.
Although nominations for some categories for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance are based solely on votes, a number of categories had nomination review committees. Those include rap, rock, R&B, country, dance / electronic music, American roots, Latin music, jazz, and gospel / Christian music. The committees for those groups consist of 13 to 17 voting members who select the five nominees from among 15 finalists.
But for years there have been doubts about the nomination process and members of the music industry have called for greater transparency, as the selection of finalists is done behind closed doors. Others claim that the members of the main committees promote projects that they have worked on or that they support based on their personal relationships.
Last year the academy announced that musicians invited to participate in a nomination review committee would have to agree to terms that include disclosing the existence of any conflict of interest and whether they would benefit from the nomination of an artist from that category, either by financial, family or creative ties.
That seemed like a response to former Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan, who was fired months into her job and days before the 2020 Grammys. Dugan said the awards were rigged and riddled with conflicts of interest.
Doubts about the Grammy voting process reached new heights when The Weeknd - who topped the charts with "Blinding Lights" and "Heartless" - had a very successful album with "After Hours" and performed on the Super Bowl - was completely snubbed for this year's ceremony, held last month. The Grammys were in stark contrast to most music awards, in which The Weeknd was a key nominee, and as of Thursday he received 16 nominations for the Billboard Music Awards. The Weekend ended up saying that it would boycott the Grammys.
Change has been at the center of the conversation at the Grammys for years. The organization has been criticized for the lack of diversity in the main categories, which rarely honor rappers and contemporary R&B stars, including heavyweights such as Beyoncé, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Drake, Jay-Z, Mariah Carey and John Legend. Although those artists have won in the rap and R&B categories, when it comes to the top awards such as album, song, and recording of the year, the winners tend to be from the genres of pop, rock, jazz, or country. The organization has also been criticized for its lack of female winners in the most prominent categories.
Although there is some negativity associated with nomination review committees, some members prefer them to protect nominees of a specific gender. For example, the rap category at the Grammys added a review committee three years after Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won three rap awards in 2014 over Kendrick Lamar, a decision that was widely criticized by the music community and the public. , even by Macklemore.
Other changes announced Friday include limiting how many gender categories members can vote on, which was lowered from 15 to 10. The academy said "those 10 categories should fall within no more than three (gender) fields." All voters can vote for the top four prizes.
The academy also presented two new awards bringing its total to 86: best global music performance and best urban music album.
The 64th annual Grammys are scheduled for January 31, 2022. Nominees will be announced later this year.