The governing physique of the Grammy Awards voted on Friday to vary its nominating course of, eliminating a step that has not too long ago come underneath hearth — using nameless skilled committees to determine who makes the ultimate poll in dozens of classes.
Every year, the Recording Academy convenes music professionals to serve on its nomination overview committees for 61 of the Grammys’ 84 classes. They whittle down the preliminary nomination selections by the academy’s 1000’s of voters to find out the poll, and their work is meant to guard the integrity of the awards course of.
The committees started in 1989, however lately they’ve come underneath intense criticism from artists, music executives and even Grammy insiders as examples of an unaccountable system rife with conflicts of curiosity and mysterious agendas.
Earlier than this yr’s Grammys, in March, the pop star the Weeknd — who had been shut out of the nominations regardless of the success of his newest album, “After Hours” — introduced that he could be boycotting the present any longer, and targeted his blame on the nomination course of.
“Due to the key committees,” the Weeknd instructed The New York Occasions, “I’ll not permit my label to submit my music to the Grammys.”
The Weeknd’s rebuke got here after years of complaints by musicians, significantly Black artists in genres like hip-hop and R&B, a lot of whom have been lauded repeatedly in style classes however blocked within the 4 most prestigious awards: album, file and tune of the yr, and finest new artist. Among the many most outspoken have been Jay-Z, Drake, Kanye West and Frank Ocean.
At this yr’s ceremony, Beyoncé grew to become the most-awarded girl in Grammy historical past, with 28 wins. However of her profession whole, just one prize was in a significant class, when she took residence a tune of the yr trophy in 2010 as one of many credited songwriters on “Single Women (Put a Ring on It).”
In a press release, Harvey Mason Jr., the interim chief government of the Recording Academy, praised the choice by the academy’s board as a part of “a yr of unprecedented, transformational change” on the establishment.
“It is a new academy, one that’s pushed to motion and that has doubled down on the dedication to assembly the wants of the music neighborhood,” Mason added. The proposal was mentioned for over a yr, and concerned a particular committee of academy members and leaders, the group stated.
The workings of the nomination committees have lengthy been a topic of intrigue within the music business. The identities of the committee members are stored secret to guard these individuals from exterior affect and fan assaults, in accordance with the academy.
However the course of got here underneath explicit scrutiny final yr, when Deborah Dugan, the academy’s former chief, made a lot of detailed accusations as a part of a authorized grievance over her ouster from the group.
In accordance with her grievance, many individuals on the committees had conflicts of curiosity. In a single instance she gave, one artist who was up for the tune of the yr class was allowed to take a seat on the committee for that class, and was additionally represented by a board member.
Final yr, the academy instituted a rule that musicians on the committees should signal disclosure varieties to stop conflicts.
The choice to chop the committees was made throughout a gathering of the academy’s board of trustees. Though they’re being eradicated for the 4 prime prizes and all style classes, overview panels will stay for 11 so-called craft classes, which cowl awards for manufacturing, packaging, album notes and historic recordings.
The board additionally determined to cut back to 10 from 15 the variety of style award classes the academy members might vote on, past the highest 4 prizes, and added two awards: finest international music efficiency and finest música urbana album, a Latin class.
The adjustments will take impact with the sixty fourth annual Grammy Awards, to be held on Jan. 31, 2022, which can cowl music launched throughout a 13-month window from Sept. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021.