Recording Academy Announces More Grammy Rule Changes

If an album is up for album of the year, more of the pros who worked on that album will automatically be nominated.

Had this gone into effect some few years ago a number of Ghanaian artists including Fuse ODG, Killbeatz would have in addition to their many accolades, “Grammy-nominated”

The Recording Academy announced several changes to its awards and nominations process on Wednesday (May 26). These changes affect album of the year and these four fields — dance/electronic music, classical, music for visual media and music video/film.

These are on top of the changes announced last month, which included an end to nomination review committees, a reduction in the number of categories in which members may vote and the addition of two new categories — best global music performance and best música Urbana album.

All but one of these changes will go into effect for the 64th annual Grammy Awards, set for Jan. 31, 2022. That change, appropriately, is listed last in this report.

Here’s a summary of approved rule changes that go into effect immediately:

Album of the year: Expanding eligibility

Moving forward, if an album is up for album of the year, all credited featured artists, songwriters of new material, producers, recording engineers, mixers and mastering engineers who worked on that album are automatically nominated. Previously, the rule stated that all of these pros had to be credited with 33 per cent or more of playing time to be nominated.

Under the new rules, the Academy won’t have to do the math to make sure a participant meets the 30% threshold. If they’re credited on the album in one or more of these capacities, and the album is nominated for album of the year, they’re nominated.

Dance/electronic field: A renamed and redefined category

The category formerly known as best dance recording has been renamed best dance/electronic recording. This brings this category in line with the corresponding album category, which has long been called best dance/electronic album.

Best dance/electronic recording is intended for recordings with significant electronic-based instrumentation generally based around a rhythmic dance beat. The screening criteria include established dance and electronic recording genres as well as related emerging genres.

Classical field: Singles are now allowed in five classical categories

Singles that are not part of an album will now be eligible in five classical categories — best orchestral performance, best choral performance, best chamber music/small ensemble performance, best classical instrumental solo, and best contemporary classical composition.

Album of the year: A stricter standard for what constitutes a new album

One of the most significant of the newly announced changes won’t go into effect until the 65th annual Grammy Awards, which are set to take place in 2023. Under that change, for an album to be eligible for Grammy consideration, it must contain more than 75 per cent playing time of newly recorded, previously unreleased recordings. The current rule is 50 per cent. (The Grammys define “newly recorded” as being recorded within five years of the release date.)

Note: This rule will affect album of the year and the various genre album awards (such as best country album), but it will not affect six-album categories in which the material need not be newly recorded — best compilation soundtrack, best historical album, best immersive audio album, best recording package, best special package, and best album notes.

The full list of rule amendments for the 64th Grammy Awards, including the newly announced changes passed at the Recording Academy’s semiannual board of trustees meeting held last week, can be found in the Grammy Awards Rules and Guidelines.

Additional text from Billboard.

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