Substantial changes concerning the Grammy Awards were announced by the Recording Academy on Friday. The biggest alteration is the elimination what were essentially small, secret councils of “15-30 highly skilled music peers” who determined the nominations. Nominations “will now be determined by a majority, peer-to-peer vote of voting members,” the statement read.
There are 12,000 voting members in the wider body.
The change comes after The Weeknd announced a boycott of the Grammys because of the secret committees. His most recent album, After Hours, was a smashing success with audiences and critics, yet received zero nominations. He called the freeze-out “an attack.”
The Recording Academy’s former president Deborah Dugan, who held the position for less than one year, charged that the secret committees were fertile ground for corruption. “Rather than promoting a transparent nomination process, the Board [of Trustees] has decided to shroud the process in secrecy, and ultimately controls, in large part, who is nominated for Grammy Awards,” she said in a legal complaint.
In an interview with Variety published after the announcement, interim President Harvey Mason Jr. said the decision was in the works prior to the recent controversy. He also said the vote to make the change won “in a landslide.”
The nitty gritty of Grammy voting still remains a little complex. While this means everyone have a chance to make selections for the “big four” (album, record, song, and new artist) members will now only be allowed to vote in 10 categories as opposed to a previous 15, in order to keep members in their areas of expertise. Additionally, those votes must stay in three fields. This will encourage people who maybe do not know much about arranging to stay out of the Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella category. Also, selecting committees remain for some of the more esoteric “craft” awards, like for liner notes or album packaging.
The organization also announced two new awards, for Best Global Music Performance and Best Música Urbana Album.
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