Grammys expand major category nominations – Best album, song, record, new artist – From five to eight

 

The Recording Academy today announced several changes to its awards process, most notably that the number of nominations for the “General Field” categories — Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist — will increase from five to eight. According to the announcement, sent to Academy members Tuesday morning, “This change will better reflect the large number of entries in these categories and allow voters greater flexibility when selecting this year’s best recordings.”

The decision is also likely a reflection of the uproar over the low number of female nominees for the 2018 awards, although with Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino, Khalid, SZA and Jay-Z producer No I.D. leading, those nominations were otherwise possibly the most musically and racially diverse in the Academy’s history. However, the winners did not reflect the wider variety of nominees — Mars swept Best Album, Song and Record — and in some categories it seems likely that votes were split between Jay-Z and Lamar, arguably the world’s two most popular rappers.

In other changes, music supervisors will be considered nominees in the Best Compilation Soundtrack Album category (although they will no longer be eligible for consideration as album producers, unless they produced at least 51 percent of the album in question), and nominations for the World Music Field will now be determined through its own Nominations Review Committee. A number of definition changes were also announced and are detail in full below.

  • Best Surround Sound Album Renamed

To reflect evolving technology, new formats, and current industry trends, practices, and language, the Best Surround Sound Album category and Field name have been changed to Best Immersive Audio Album and Field.

  • Best Alternative Music Album Redefined

To address confusion surrounding this category, the criteria and definition have been broadened and updated as follows:

  • Alternative is defined as a genre of music that embraces attributes of progression and innovation in both the music and attitudes associated with it. It is often a less intense version of rock or a more intense version of pop and is typically regarded as more original, eclectic, or musically challenging. It may embrace a variety of sub-genres or any hybrids thereof and may include recordings that don’t fit into other genre categories.
  • American Roots Field Amended Definitions
  • Best Americana Album – For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental Americana recordings. Award to the artist(s), producer(s), and/or engineer(s) of over 51% playing time of the album.

NOTE: This category recognizes recordings of contemporary music that incorporate elements of various American roots music and vocal styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana often uses a full electric band.

  • Best Folk Album – For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental folk recordings. Award to the artist(s), producer(s), and/or engineer(s) of over 51% playing time of the album.

NOTE: This category recognizes folk recordings in modern and/or traditional vocal and instrumental styles, as well as original material by artists who utilize traditional and/or modern folk elements, sounds and instrumental techniques as the basis for their recordings. Folk music is primarily but not exclusively acoustic, with production and sensibilities distinctly different from a pop approach.

  • Best Contemporary Blues Album – For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrument contemporary blues recordings.  Award to the artist(s), producer(s), and/or engineer(s) of over 51% playing time of the album.
    NOTE: This category includes blues recordings that vary from traditional blues song and harmonic structures. May employ non-traditional blues rhythms such as funk, hip-hop, reggae, and rock.
  • Best Regional Roots Music Album – For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental regional roots music recordings. Award to the artist(s), producer(s), and/or engineer(s) of over 51% playing time of the album.

NOTE: This category recognizes recordings of regional roots styles of music, including Cajun, Hawaiian, Native American, Second Line brass band, polka, zydeco and others, with production and sensibilities distinctly different from a pop approach. Native American music is defined as recordings that contain traditional and contemporary Native American music elements within composition and arrangement. On Hawaiian music recordings, the Hawaiian language must be used in 51% or more of the vocal tracks on the album and eligibility will be determined by the screening committee.

 

Best Comedy Album Eligibility Clarification

To clarify the eligibility guidelines for the Best Comedy Album category to recognize the changing trends in the way comedy albums are currently produced and released.

 

Eligible

  • Albums must contain 51% or more playing time of newly recorded (previously unreleased) comedy material, including spoken word stand-up comedy or musical comedy recordings.
  • Albums are limited to new comedy performances, whether recorded in a studio or live, and whether recorded in an audio only format or as part of a video project.
  • Recordings that are compilations/excerpts from a current year radio or television program or new recordings of comedy performances first aired on television within five years of the release date.
  • Solo artists
  • Duos or groups
  • Collaborations or Various Artists

 

Not Eligible

  • Singles
  • Tracks
  • Albums consisting only of sound effects
  • Environmental recordings (enter in Best New Age Album)
  • Narrations of books (audio books), even if considered humorous
  • Recordings that are compilations/excerpts from non-current year broadcast radio or television programs

 

Best Compilation Soundtrack: Updated Guideline

    • 51% or more of the music on an otherwise eligible television soundtrack must be derived from new episodes or new programming that airs during the GRAMMY eligibility year for which it is entered.

 

Best Dance/Electronic Album: New Definition

    • This category is intended for recordings with significant electronic based instrumentation and a rhythmic dance beat. The screening process should include both emerging and established dance recording genres, to accurately reflect the current trends in dance music.

 

Best Musical Theater Album: Updated Guidelines And Definition

    • Award to:  Album Producer(s), and Principal Vocalist(s) with significant contributing performance. The Lyricist(s) and Composer(s) of at least 51% of the new score are eligible for an award if they have written and/or composed a new score which comprises 51% or more playing time of the album.

Note: This category is for recordings of the score of a musical theater work created to support an underlying dramatic intention or theme. This award honors excellence in the performance(s) in and production of musical theater recordings. Elements of the corresponding stage production should not be considered in evaluating the recording.

Best Song Written For Visual Media: Updated Guideline

    • Where a track from a visual media work is released in the current eligibility year, while the soundtrack album is not being released until the following eligibility year, the track will be eligible for GRAMMY consideration in the later year so long as it was not submitted in any category in the current year.

 

Best Surround Sound Album Renamed

To reflect evolving technology, new formats, and current industry trends, practices, and language, the Best Surround Sound Album category and Field name have been changed to Best Immersive Audio Album and Field.

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Looks from inside the 2018 GRAMMYs
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artist Lady Gaga attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: (L-R) Jay-Z, Blue Ivy and Beyonce Knowles attend the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artist Cardi B attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artist Rihanna attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artist Miley Cyrus attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: (L-R) Recording artists Cyndi Lauper, Julia Michaels, Andra Day, Kesha and Bebe Rexha pose backstage during the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artists Kendrick Lamar (L) and Rihanna, winners of Best Rap/Sung Performance for 'LOYALTY.' pose during the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artist Alessia Cara poses backstage during the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artists Mark Ronson and Lady Gaga perform onstage during the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Manager Johnny Wright and recording artist Alicia Keys attend the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Maren Morris MILLY FW17: Panne Velvet Fractured Bias Slipdress in Gold  during the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artist SZA performs onstage during the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artist Rihanna attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)
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