Months after coming under fire from The Weeknd and other artists over so-called “secret” committees that determined nominees in most Grammy Award categories, the Recording Academy announced Friday those panels were being eliminated, and nominating would be done by membership voting.
“It’s been a year of unprecedented, transformational change for the Recording Academy, and I’m immensely proud to be able to continue our journey of growth with these latest updates to our awards process,” Harvey Mason Jr., interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement. “This is a new Academy, one that is driven to action and that has doubled down on the commitment to meeting the needs of the music community.
“While change and progress are key drivers of our actions, one thing will always remain — the Grammy Award is the only peer-driven and peer-voted recognition in music. We are honored to work alongside the music community year-round to further refine and protect the integrity of the awards process.”
According to the academy, beginning with next year’s Grammys, Nominations Review Committees — made up of unnamed “highly skilled music peers” — will be eliminated for all genre and general categories, including the top honors of record, album and song of the year and best new artist.
“With this change, the results of Grammy nominations and winners are placed back in the hands of the entire voting membership body, giving further validation to the peer-recognized process,” according to an academy statement. “To further support this amendment, the academy has confirmed that more than 90% of its members will have gone through the requalification process by the end of this year, ensuring that the voting body is actively engaged in music creation.”
Nominating committees will continue in “craft” categories, including producer of the year and technical production areas.
The use of nominating committees became a topic of debate this year when The Weeknd was shut out of Grammy nominations, despite having one of the top-selling albums and singles of the year. The Weeknd lashed out at the academy in statements and online, vowing to boycott the Grammys.
In other rule changes announced Friday, the number of genre field categories in which members can vote was reduced from 15 to 10, and the 10 categories can be spread across no more than three fields (genres). All voters, however, can vote in the top four general categories — album, song, record of the year and best new artist.
The academy also consolidated six “craft” fields into two — presentation and production.
Two new categories were also announced — best global music performance and best música urbana album.
“The latest changes to the Grammy Awards process are prime examples of the Recording Academy’s commitment to authentically represent all music creators and ensure our practices are in lock-step with the ever-changing musical environment,” said Ruby Marchand, the academy’s chief industry officer. “As we continue to build a more active and vibrant membership community, we are confident in the expertise of our voting members to recognize excellence in music each year.”