Greater diversity is the objective behind one of the biggest changes to the Grammy Awards process in recent years, it was reported Tuesday.
The Recording Academy will increase the number of nominees from five to eight for its 2019 Grammy ceremony in each of the general categories of record, album, song and best new artist, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday morning. The changes are detailed in a letter going out this week to all 24,000 academy members advising them of several modifications that are part of the ongoing process of fine-tuning the awards from year to year.
They arrive as the Grammy Awards are facing increased scrutiny over diversity, a conversation that accelerated after Recording Academy President and Chief Executive Neil Portnow stated that women in the music industry needed to “step up” after this year’s male-dominated Grammy Awards results.
In a statement on the changes, Portnow said, “Throughout the year, we team up with music people across all genres and disciplines to consider revisions and subsequently make amendments to our rules and entry guidelines to ensure we’re keeping up with our ever-changing industry and meeting the needs of music creators.”
“This creates more opportunities for a wider range of recognition in these important categories and gives more flexibility to our voters when having to make the often challenging decisions about representing excellence and the best in music for the year,” Portnow’s statement continued, according to The Times.
The Recording Academy and Portnow individually came in for considerable criticism from various corners following the 2018 award show in January.
Musicians including Pink and Sheryl Crow tweeted harsh reactions to the dominance of males among Grammy nominees, and some music executives also publicly criticized Portnow’s post-awards show comment that the time had come for women to “step up” to be better represented in the annual awards process.
Crow on Twitter argued that the Grammys should reinstate separate male and female categories. In a large restructuring and trimming of categories, the Grammys in 2011 essentially did away with divisions by gender.
“Who will young girls be inspired by to pick up a guitar and rock when most every category is filled with men?” asked Crow.