The governing physique of the Grammy Awards voted on Friday to alter its nominating course of, eliminating a step that has not too long ago come below fireplace — the usage of nameless professional committees to determine who makes the ultimate poll in dozens of classes.
Each yr, the Recording Academy convenes music professionals to serve on its nomination assessment committees for 61 of the Grammys’ 84 classes. They whittle down the preliminary nomination decisions 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 below intense criticism from artists, music executives and even Grammy insiders as examples of an unaccountable system rife with conflicts of curiosity and mysterious agendas.
Before 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 more, and targeted his blame on the nomination course of.
“Because of the secret committees,” the Weeknd informed The New York Times, “I will no longer allow 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, lots of whom have been lauded repeatedly in style classes however blocked within the 4 most prestigious awards: album, report and music of the yr, and greatest new artist. Among essentially the 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. But of her profession whole, just one prize was in a serious class, when she took house a music of the yr trophy in 2010 as one of many credited songwriters on “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).”
In an announcement, Harvey Mason Jr., the interim chief govt of the Recording Academy, praised the choice by the academy’s board as a part of “a year of unprecedented, transformational change” on the establishment.
“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,” Mason added. The proposal was mentioned for over a yr, and concerned a particular committee of academy members and leaders, the group mentioned.
The workings of the nomination committees have lengthy been a topic of intrigue within the music business. The identities of the committee members are saved secret to guard these individuals from exterior affect and fan assaults, in line with the academy.
But the method got here below explicit scrutiny final yr, when Deborah Dugan, the academy’s former chief, made quite a lot of detailed accusations as a part of a authorized grievance over her ouster from the group.
According to her grievance, many individuals on the committees had conflicts of curiosity. In one instance she gave, one artist who was up for the music of the yr class was allowed to take a seat on the committee for that class, and was additionally represented by a board member.
Last yr, the academy instituted a rule that musicians on the committees should signal disclosure kinds to forestall conflicts.
The resolution to chop the committees was made throughout a gathering of the academy’s board of trustees. Although they’re being eradicated for the 4 high prizes and all style classes, assessment 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 could vote on, past the highest 4 prizes, and added two awards: greatest international music efficiency and greatest música urbana album, a Latin class.
The modifications will take impact with the sixty fourth annual Grammy Awards, to be held on Jan. 31, 2022, which is able to cowl music launched throughout a 13-month window from Sept. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021.